EEPCo, Chinese Company Ink Billion Dollar Transmission Line Deal


Lines to connect Grand Renaissance Dam to National Grid to be completed in two years




The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) signed a 1.2 billion dollar agreement with the Chinese company, State Grid of China Electric Power Equipment & Technology Co. Ltd (SGCC) for the installation of high-voltage electric transmission lines.

The government will be spending 180 million dollars for the project. The 1.02 billion dollar difference is covered through a loan obtained from a Chinese government bank.

The deal was signed by Jia Zhi Qiang CEO of SGCC and Mihret Debebe, CEO of EEPCo. Debretsion Gebremichael, minister of Communication & Information Technology and Alemayehu Tegenu, minister of Water & Energy were also present at the signing ceremony on Thursday, April 26, 2013 held at the Sheraton Addis.

The project will help connect the power generated from the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GEDR) to the national grid. Implementation is expected to be underway within a month.

The transmission lines, which will carry 500kV of power from the GERD to Dedesa and Holeta, a 619Km stretch, will transmit via two 500kV double circuit transmission lines to the new Dedesa and Holeta substations.

These lines will later link up with the already existing Sebeta II, Sululta II, and Akaki II substations.

In the second lot, a 400kV double circuit line from GERD to Beles and Bahir Dar is already is under construction.

“Our plan is to complete the construction of the transmission lines in 24 months, before the end of the GERD,” said Mihret. “When completed, the transmission lines will help to connect South Sudan and theSudan.”

Since breaking ground, the GERD has reached 18pc of completion, according to the figures that Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn presented during his nine month report to Parliament last week. The Dam’s 5.4 billion Br cost does not include the 1.2 billion Br allocated for the construction of transmission lines.

When complete, the hydropower station will have the capacity to generate around 6,000Mw of electricity. With significant investment in hydropower dam projects along the Nile, Omo andGibe Rivers,Ethiopiaaims to fulfil its goals of becomingAfrica’s electricity exporter.

It started exporting electricity toDjiboutiin June 2011 and began a pilot project exporting toSouth Sudan. The Corporation plans to start exporting to South Sudan and theSudanafter the completion of the power transmission lines.

“We are ready to share our vast experience and complete the project according to schedule,” said Du Zhi Gang, president of SGCC.

SGCC, headquartered inBeijing, is the largest electric power transmission and distribution company inChinaand the largest utilities company in the world. It was ranked eighth in the 2010 Fortune Global 500 list of the world’s largest companies by revenue and has moved one place up in the 2011 Fortune Global 500 list.

The public company was restructured whenChinaunderwent electricity “Plant-Grid Separation” reform in early 2000. The company was classified as part of a power generation group, and was mandated, along with its five subsidiaries to operate power transmission, distribution and other assets of the old State Electric Power Corporation.

SGCC built and owns one of the world’s largest capacity High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) systems. It completed the project in 2010, although its capacity was surpassed by the Jinping-Sunan HVDC scheme which was put into operation in December 2012.



By YETNEBERK TADELE
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on April 28, 2013 [ Vol 13 ,No 678]


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