Power Players

The Gibe III Hydroelectric Project was inaugurated by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on December 17, 2016, two years behind its initial completion schedule. Hailemariam congratulated Azeb Asnake, CEO of Ethiopian Electric Power, while Sileshi Bekele (PhD), minister of Water, Irrigation & Electricity, looked delighted in the middle.

As part of a drive to generate 15,000mw in four years, the dam inaugurated on Saturday was launched nine years ago with a budget of 1.5 billion euros. About 40pc of the construction cost was covered by the Ethiopian Government, the remaining with loans from the China Exim-Bank. The Italian Salini Construction, a company which is also building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is responsible for the completion of the current and two preceding projects. Gilgel Gibe III, with a height of 243m and length of 610m, is built on Omo River. It has a total capacity of 15 billion cubic meters water, with an installed capacity of 1,870mw. The turbines can each generate 187mw.

The dam will aid in quenching the shortage of power due to the impact of the El Niño drought. Though the 10 turbines are ready for power generation. There were requests from UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee to halt all construction on the dam due to environmental concerns. Gibe I and II, which were built on the same river, are generating a combined total of 604mw. When the dam is entirely operational, the country’s installed generating capacity will increase to 4,200mw.

Published on Dec 20,2016 [ Vol 17 ,No 868]



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