Aba Samuel Hydroelectric Power Plant is to commence operation within two years after sitting idle for four decades.
Although its debatable, the power plant is considered to be the first hydro electric plant in the country and it is now being rehabilitated by the Chinese Hydrochina Haudong Engineering Corporation.
For the rehabilitation, the Chinese government has provided a USD 15 million grant.
According to Azeb Asnake, CEO of Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP), the project is expected to be finished within 24 months.
The current rehabilitation includes dam maintenance, installation of four units of turbines and generators, a new penstock and civil engineering work.
After the rehabilitation the power plant is expected to generate 6.6mw of electric power. The Ethiopian government will add 10 million birr for a transmission line and maintenance of an access road.
The former Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) that recently split into two, has been trying to rehabilitate the plant for the last decade.
The Akaki River and the lake are now contaminated due to citizens’ utilization of the river system. “Through this process of plant rehabilitation, the contractor is expected to mitigate the problem and enhance green and clean environment,” Azeb said.
She said that the rehabilitation of the Aba Samuel plant will also help promote tourism around the lake.
Aba Samuel Dam located on the Akaki River began first phase construction in 1936 with a capacity of 3.3mw and started production in 1941. In 1953 the power plant generated 3.3 mw with one turbine and then 6mw after they installed one additional unit.
However, in 1974 the plant stopped generating power when the turbines failed.