VA Tech Hydro to equip Ethiopia’s 460-MW Beles

VA Tech Hydro has signed a contract with turnkey contractor Salini Costruttori S.p.A. of Italy to supply turbine-generators and other equipment for the 460-MW Beles hydroelectric project in Ethiopia.

The 70 million euro (US$89.5 million) contract includes model testing, design, manufacturing, installation, and commissioning of four vertical Francis turbines, digital-type governors, generators, and electrical balance of plant.

Beles, which is owned by Ethiopian Electric Power Corp., is scheduled to begin commercial operation in 2008 on the Beles River, in a cavern near Lake Tana in northwestern Ethiopia.

In a May 15 announcement, VA Tech Hydro said Beles will be the largest hydropower plant in Ethiopia and one of the first projects to supply a planned 400-kilovolt long-distance transmission grid.

Ethiopia officials said in April they hope to generate millions of dollars in foreign currency by exporting excess electricity from Beles, 300-MW Tekeze, and 420-MW Gilgel Gibe 2, which are being built at a cost of US$1.4 billion.

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