Ethiopia-China consortium to construct 385-MW Geba 1,2 hydro project in Ethiopia

The government of Ethiopia has awarded a contract to an Ethiopia-China consortium to construct the 385-MW Geba 1 and 2 hydroelectric complex on the Geba River in western Ethiopia.

Government officials signed an agreement September 8 with Sur Construction of Ethiopia, and Sinohydro Corp. and China Gezhouba Group Co. (CGGC) of China, the government-owned Ethiopian News Agency reported.

Ethiopian Electric Power Corp. invited expressions of interest from firms in 2008 to finance and construct the 220-MW Geba 1 and 165-MW Geba 2 hydroelectric complex in Oromia State. Geba was among 22 projects in Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan examined by consultants in 2004 as part of an Eastern Nile Power Trade Program study funded by the African Development Bank.

Sur, Sinohydro and CGGC have previously worked in joint ventures including construction of the 300-MW Tekeze hydroelectric project on Ethiopia’s Tekeze River. Under the Geba agreement, Sur is to carry out 25 percent of the construction, with the remaining 75 percent divided among all three companies in cooperation.

ArbaMinch University in South Ethiopia Peoples’ State is to perform hydraulic model testing for the project.

Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister Alemayehu Tegenu said 80 percent of Geba’s US$583 million cost is to be financed by the Export-Import Bank of China.

The multipurpose complex includes Geba 1 with a head of 480 meters and average annual generation of 935 gigawatt-hours and Geba 2 with a head of 267 meters and average annual generation of 853 GWh. A feasibility study of the complex was completed in 2005 by Norplan-Norconsult, identifying a one-reservoir scheme as the most economic alternative.

Water ministers of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan agreed in August to establish a committee to study water resources and socio-environmental effects related to the 6,000-MW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam under construction on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia.

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