Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ethiopia seals China deals to boost power

The Ethiopian government said on Wednesday that its national electricity company has signed contracts with three Chinese firms to develop hydro-electric projects and made preliminary accords for wind power projects.

The state Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) said that the building of at least six new dams would be part of a $12-billion plan over 25 years to improve the power network.

The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) signed one accord with China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC) for the Genale Dawa 3 hydropower project in the south of the country.

EEPCo chief executive Mihret Debebe said this would cost $408-million and would generate 254 megawatts of power, ENA reported.

A 110m high dam will be built on the Genale River, which will increase the current capacity of 860MW by 27%, Mihret said.

EEPCo also signed an accord with Sinohydro Corporation for the $555-million Chemoga Yeda hydropower project in Amhara state. Mihret said there would be five dams on five rivers, with the first phase to be ready in four years.

Preliminary accords were signed with the HydroChina Company to build wind power projects in the Adama and Mesobo Harena areas. The financing will come from the Chinese government.

Ethiopia suffers major power shortfalls as it cannot keep up with rising demand from homes and industry. Since the start of this year, Addis Ababa regularly has power cuts every two days.