April 25, 2011(ADDIS ABABA) – As part of the plans to export electric power to neighbouring countries, Ethiopia has completed installation of power transmission lines that stretch to Sudan and Djibouti, the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) disclosed on Monday.
Ethiopia has an initial agreement to supply 200 megawatts to Djibouti, 500 megawatts to Kenyaand 200 megawatts to Sudan when its dams, which are currently under construction, are completed. It will also consider a 26km undersea transmission line for exporting electricity to Yemen via Djibouti.
The interconnection projects were carried out with a multi-million dollars fund from the World Bank(WB). The WB said a similar US$196 million project that connects Ethiopia with Kenya is making good progress.
Named the “Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam”, the Horn of Africa’s country has recently launched the construction of a US$4.7 billion hydropower project in the Nile basin near the border with Sudan.
When completed, the Mega Dam will enable transmission lines to further link Ethiopia’s hydropower plants to the 12-nation Southern Africa Power Pool via Tanzania.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, at a recent news conference, said that the country has plans to export power to seven neighbouring countries namely Sudan, Egypt, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, and South Sudan.
At a recent interview with the Pro-government News Agency,Walta Information Center, Mehret Debebe, the chief executive officer of EEPCo, said that neighbouring countries are keen to import renewable energy from Ethiopia as it is very cheap and most of them are utilising energy sources that contribute to climate change.
“Ethiopia is endeavouring to fully harness its hydropower potential, which is estimated to be more than 45,000 megawatts, to alleviate poverty”, said Debebe.
With an ambition to become regional power hub, Ethiopia is currently undertaking multi-billion dollar investment in hydro-electric projects.
The huge investments in power plants could make electricity rather than coffee the Horn of Africa nation biggest export, over the next 10 years.
Currently, Ethiopia is generating 2,000 megawatts of power for its local consumption. According to the corporation, there is a plan to increase the country’s power capacity to 10,000 megawatts in the next five to ten years.