Addis Ababa, December 17, 2016 (FBC) - Gibe III hydropower plant has been inaugurated today in the presence of ministers and ambassadors of various countries, including Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, the Premier said broad activities were carried out in power sector as it is decisive for Ethiopia’s all-round growth.
The country won’t stop developing renewable energy for a moment as it needs additional power to meet its demand for development, he said.
Works are underway to generate 15,000 megawatts in the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP-II) period, the Premier indicated.
Gibe III hydropower plant is part of this, he said, adding the other mega project, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), has already passed its halfway and is making a substantial progress for completion.
The construction of the dam, which was launched 9 years ago, consumed 1.5 billion Euros, according to Engineer Azeb Asnak, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP).
About 40 percent of the total construction cost was covered by the government of Ethiopia. The remaining 60 percent was covered by a loan obtained from the China Exim Bank.
The construction of the dam was carried out by the Italian Salini Construction Private Ltd., a company which is also currently building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Having a height of 243m, 610m of length and with total storage capacity of 15 billion cubic meters, the dam has total installed capacity of 1,870 megawatts. It has 10 Francis turbines each generating 187 megawatts.
The dam has already started generating 900megawwats ahead of its inauguration, thus filling the gap created in the supply of power due to the impact of the El Nino induced drought on other power dams, Azeb stated.
Though the ten turbines are ready for power generation, some turbines are not generating as the dam retained only some water. However, all turbines will enter into generation through process, the CEO added.
Engineer Mebratu Teshome, Project Site Coordinator of the dam said, Ethiopians have acquired knowledge and experiences which will allow them to build similar projects in the future as several international contractors and designers took part in the construction of the dam.
The Gibe III is the third hydro power plant which was built on Omo River. Gibe I and II, which were built on the same river, are currently generating 184 megawatts and 420 megawatts, respectively.
Upon going fully operational, Gibe III will raise the country’s installed generating capacity to 4,200 megawatts.
Translated and posted by Amare Asrat