Ethiopia plans all-electric hydropowered state by 2015

Ethiopia, whose population is expected to swell from 75 million to more than 100 million by 2015, plans to light up the entire country in the next eight years, the head of the Ethiopia Electric Power Corp. (EEPCO) says.

EEPCO General Manager Mihert Debebe said February 7 a combination of hydro, geothermal, and wind power generation projects, plus distribution and transmission programs would help Ethiopia achieve its ambitious goal.

The Horn of Africa country produces 800 MW from hydropower projects, reaching 19 percent of the 75 million population.

“By 2010, the country will be able to generate over 4,000 MW of power and install 135,000 kilometers of distribution lines as well as 12,000 kilometers of high voltage networks to electrify 6,000 towns and villages providing access to electric power to over 50 percent of the country’s population,” Mihert told reporters.

The construction of five hydropower projects, including 300-MW Tekeze, 420-MW Gilgel Gibe 2, and 435-MW Beles is expected to be completed by 2010, Mihert said. (HNN 7/25/06)

“The construction of geothermal and wind power generation in addition to hydropower dams during the next eight years will help achieve total electrification of the country by 2015,” he added.

The cost of building the dams, which runs into billions of dollars, would be met by the state, the World Bank, and loans from international financial institutions, Mihert said.

Ethiopia President Girma Woldegiorgis formally launched construction of Beles in January on the Beles River near Lake Tana. (HNN 1/23/07) Beles’ builder, Salini Costruttori SpA of Italy, also began construction in December at the 1,870-MW Gilgel Gibe 3 hydroelectric project in Ethiopia’s Omo-Gibe River Basin.

The government of China is to provide 85 percent of the total cost of the 100-MW Finchaa-Amarti-Neshe hydroelectric project, to be built by a Chinese firm on the Neshe River. (HNN 1/30/07)

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