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Ethiopia to build new high voltage transmission lines

Tigrai Online, June 22, 2012

Ethiopia plans to invest $3 to 5 billion in transmission and distribution infrastructure in the next few years
Ethiopia plans to invest $3 to 5 billion in transmission and distribution infrastructure in the next few years

Ethiopia will build new high-voltage power transmission lines to transmit electricity from new power-generation projects, Ethiopia's existing networks are unable to transport electricity that will be generated from the brand new hydroelectric power plants.

In addition, Ethiopia aims to become the number one exporter of electricity in east Africa. Ethiopia has, therefore, contracted Power Grid Corporation of India to undertake a feasibility study to determine the highest needed voltage power capacities of the transmission lines.

The study will be conducted taking into consideration the power generation capacity of the country for the next 25 years. It is expected to be completed within six months and will cost $225 000.

The study is part of Ethiopia’s plan to invest a total of $3 to 5-billion in transmission and distribution infrastructure in the next few years.

A senior official at the State-owned Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) says the need to make this huge investment in constructing new transmission lines has become more clear because the existing transmission lines do not have the capacity to use the power to be generated from new hydroelectric and wind plants. “We need robust transmission facilities to transport electricity from new hydro and wind plants,” he said.

As if now, Ethiopia has 11 124 km of high-voltage transmission lines that transport power at different kilovolt levels, starting from 32 kV to the maximum 400 kV of transmitting capacity.

Under the planned five year Growth and Transformation Plan, Ethiopia must increase its power transmission and distribution lines from 126 038 km to 258 000 km within the stated next four years.

The new high-voltage transmission lines Ethiopia is planning to construct include the 400 kV, 212 km Debremarkos–Gebreguracha–Sululuta line, which will cost of $80-million; the 500 kV line joining Ethiopia with Kenya; the 315 km 230 kV Wolkite–Hosaina–Alaba, Gilgel Gibe I–Jimma–Agaro–Bedele line; and the 352 km Koka–Hurson 230 kV line.

Already Ethiopia is undertaking massive investments in hydro and wind electric generation plants, including the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam, with a capacity to generate 6000 MW and the Gibe III dam with a capacity of over 1 800 MW.

Some of the other mega projects in Ethiopia include wind power plants including Ashegoda, Tigrai (120 MW), Adama I and II (51 MW each), Assela (100 MW), Ayisha (300 MW) and Messobo Tigrai (42 MW).

Ethiopia with a population of around 92 million people plans to produce 20 000 MW of electric power within the next ten years at a total cost of $12-billion us dollars.

Ethiopia has the capacity to generate about 70 000 MW electric power from various sources, 5 000 MW from geothermal power, 20 000 MW from wind power and 45 000 MW from hydropower.

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