By Fasika Tadesse |

Power distribution sub-stations in eight towns are going to be rehabilitated and upgraded with a finance of 339 million Br from the World Bank’s (WB) International Development Association (IDA).

This is according to the agreement the Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) signed with the Chinese firm China Electric Power Equipment & Technology Co. Ltd. (CET) on February 5, 2015, for the project, which is expected to be finalised within a year and a half.

CET took the project, which covers the distribution, rehabilitation and upgrading of electric networks in Addis Abeba, Adama, Dire Dawa, Hawassa, Bahir Dar, Dessie, Jimma and Mekelle. The project also includes installing automated technologies for control supply systems and performing quality control on the electric distribution system.

“The aim of the projects is to solve the problem of power outage occurring in those towns. It is mainly caused by the capacity problems of the distribution systems,” said Misikir Negash, external relations director at the EEP.

Misikir attributed the problem of power outage to the age and capacity of the transformers and sub-stations currently in operation. The new expansion will enable the power distribution stations to accommodate the increasing power to the distribution and national grid system, according to Misikir.

In the coming two years, the power utility monopoly is expecting the power supply upsurge from Gilgel Gibe III, which has the capacity of producing 1,870Mw, and currently in the final stage to start power supply by the end of the current fiscal year. The Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which will have a total power supply capacity of 6,000Mw, is also expected to generate power by the end of 2015/16 fiscal year.

When the Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP) was designed in 2009/10, the total electric power capacity of the country was 2,000Mw. Five years later, in 2014/15, it reached 2,268Mw, and the plan is to reach 10,000Mw after six months at the end of the GTP period.

“Two decades ago, the number of towns, both rural and urban that got electric power was 320. But now the number has increased to 6,000,” Misikir said.

Power transmission lines have currently reached 13,000Km; the plan for 2014/15, according to the GTP, is 17,787Km. Electrification service coverage reached 55pc in the 2013/14 fiscal year, against a target of 70pc. The GTP’s electrification target is 75pc by the end of 2014/15.

CET is a wholly-owned subsidiary of State Grid Corporation of China, which received a 1.2 billion dollar payment from EEP to connect the power generated from the GERD to the national grid on 2013.

The company, which will work on the 500Kv transmission and transformation project at GERD has a presence in 80 countries across the world and took projects with a total outlay of 3.2 billion dollar as of January 2014.

“After the finalisation of the project, the transmission capacity of the sub-stations of the eight towns will double,” Meskir told Fortune.

Ethiopia has the potential to generate 50,000Mw of hydro power, 10,000Mw of geothermal and 1.3 million megawatts of wind power where the aggregate demand for electric power reached 7,589GWh in 2013/14 by rising from 4,984GWh in 2010/11.

Source: Addis Fortune

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