Negotiations underway to sign implementation agreement for geothermal projects
The Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy announced that the Genale Dawa III Hydro Power Plant and the Aisha Wind Power Plant will soon join the national power grid.
The Ministry, which declared the lifting of rolling blackouts on Monday, disclosed that the new power plants would play a role in curbing the power shortage the country is facing. The Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy Sileshi Bekele (PhD) said that the Genale Dawa III hydro power plant, which has an installed generation capacity of 254 MW, will start generation in August 2019. Sileshi said work on the Genale hydro power project has been completed adding that it is under testing and commission work.
The Minister stated that the Genale Dawa area has two rainy seasons which will help the hydro power plant have a better energy out put. “We can use the turbines efficiently. The hydro power plant can operate with 72 percent efficiency,” he said. Genale Dawa will generate additional 1620 GWH.
The Genale Dawa III hydro power project is located in southeastern Ethiopia and is currently being built by China Gezhouba Group at a cost of around USD 450 percent. It set to generate more than 250MW upon completion. It is also projected to raise the country’s electricity installed generating capacity to 4,541 MW.
Sileshi said that the Aisha wind power plant which has an installed generation capacity of 125 MW will be joining the national grid in January 2020.
The Chinese electric company, Dongfang Electric Corporation Limited (DECL), is developing the wind farm project in Aisha area of Somali State, Ethiopia. The wind farm located 20 km distance from Ethio-Djibouti border was projected to cost USD 257 million.
The wind farm will have 80 turbines each having the capacity to generate 1.5 megawatt.
“These two projects would ease the current power shortage,” the minister said.
The minister disclosed that work is underway to develop solar, wind and geothermal power projects by independent power producers. According to him, six solar power projects with an aggregate generation capacity of 800 MW is in the bidding process.
Sileshi mentioned that the Grand Ethiopian Renascence Dam (GERD) will start generation in 2021. Ethiopian Electric Power, the state power company, which currently has a total installed generation capacity of 4,324 MW of electricity is building power plants with a total generation capacity of 8,774MW.
Sileshi told The Reporter that negotiations are underway to sign implementation agreements for the Corbetti and Tulu Moye geothermal projects. Independent power producers, Corbetti Geothermal and Tulu Moye Geothermal, have signed power purchasing agreements with EEP to develop 1000MW of geothermal power plants in the Oromia Regional State West Arsi Zone with an estimated capital of four billion dollars. “There are some outstanding issues that we need to address. We are still negotiating to sign the implementation agreements,” the Minister told The Reporter.
A power industry analyst told The Reporter that the geothermal projects are behind schedule as the government is dragging its feet to sign the implementation agreements. “Geothermal project is a reliable power source that can operate through out the year. The construction does not take long time like hydro power dams. So it will be wise for the government to expedite work on the geothermal power projects at this critical time when the country is facing a power crisis,” he said.
However, Sileshi rebuffs the critic. “We can not rush to sign the implementation agreements as there are some issues that we should agree on. The implementation agreement could be so expensive that we can not afford,” he said.
Ethiopian Electric Utility which started power rationing last March revealed that it has stopped the rationing as of Monday July 8 as the water levels in the hydro power dams have improved.