Hydroelectric Plants in Ethiopia

Awash II & III
Location: Oromia
Operator: Ethiopian Electric Power Corp
Configuration: 4 X 16 MW Francis
Operation: 1966-1971
T/G supplier: Voith, Elin
Quick facts: The three Awahs plans were the first large hydro power stations built in Ethiopia. The units at Awash II and III were overhauled by Ingea.

Photograph courtesy of Ingea spol sro
Posted 25 Aug 2007

Gilgel Gibe-I
Location: Oromia
Operator: Ethiopian Electric Power Corp
Configuration: 2 X 61.3 MW Francis
Operation: 2004
T/G supplier: Voith
EPC: Enelpower, Electroconsult, Salcost
Quick facts: This plant is near Jimma 260km southwest of Addis on the Gilgel Gibe River. Development began in the early 1960s and the site was selected after planning studies in the 1970s and 1980s. Construction by a consortium of Ethiopian and North Korean firms began in 1988, but work stopped in 1994 before the dam was completed. In 1995, the government signed a new agreement with an Italian consortium to undertake an environmental impact assessment and complete design and construction. Funding from the World Bank was used to complete the plant. A 9.2km tunnel goes from the 40m dam to the powerhouse.

Photograph courtesy of Enel SpA
Posted 16 May 2004

Gilgel Gibe-II
Location: Oromia
Operator: Ethiopian Electric Power Corp
Configuration: 4 X 105-MW Pelton
Operation: 2009-2010
T/G supplier: Voith
EPC: Coyne et Bellier, Studio Pietrangeli, Salini Construttori
Quick facts: In Feb 2005, Salini awarded Voith Siemens Hydro an $80mn contract for four T/G sets for Gilgel Gibe-II HPP. This uses outflow from the Gilgel Gibe-I plant, which is now diverted towards the Omo River by a 26km tunnel to exploit about 500m of head. The diversion system consists of a 33m concrete weir 3km downstream of the Gilgel Gibe-I outfall. The contract also included generators, other electrical accessories, inlet valves, and related equipment plus a 400kV switchyard. The main generating equipment was manufacturered in Brazil. The plant was fully commissioned in Jan 2010, several years past the initial schedule.

Photograph courtesy of Studio Ing G Pietrangeli Srl
Posted 2 Dec 2015

Gilgel Gibe-III
Location: Oromia
Operator: Ethiopian Electric Power Corp
Configuration: 10 X 187-MW Francis
Operation: 2015-2016
T/G supplier: Dongfang
EPC: Studio Pietrangeli, ELC Electroconsult, Coyne et Bellier, Salini Construttori
Quick facts: In Jul 2006, EEPCo and Salcost signed agreements to build the €1.5bn, Gilgel Gibe-III HPP, the third cascade power project on the Omo-Gibe River. The 243m tall, 670m long RCC dam is one of the highest in the world. The hydro-mechanical equipment, was reported to be 85%-financed by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). The scheme includes a double-circuit 400kv transmission line to evacuate annual production of about 6,400 GWh to the grid. This work was financed for $99.7mn by the Export-Import Bank of China. Construction began in Jul 2006 and due to the remote location, the scope included  an airport, a 120m span bridge, 75km of new national roads, 40km of project site roads, plus worker housing and related facilities. The first unit commissioned to schedule in Oct 2015 and the transmission line on the route Wolaiyta-Akaki Gelan was energized in Sep 2016.

Photograph courtesy of Studio Ing G Pietrangeli Srl
Posted 2 Dec 2015

Grand Renaissance Dam
Location: Benshangul-Gumuz
Operator: Ethiopian Electric Power Corp
Configuration: 5 X 350-MW, 8 X 375-MW Francis
Operation: 2017-2018
T/G supplier: Harbin, Alstom
EPC: Studio Pietrangeli,, Alstom, Salini Construttori, Ethiopian Metal and Engineering Corp
Quick facts: In April 2011, EEPCo began construction on the Etb 80bn, Grand Renaissance Dam (GRD) project, also known as the Grand Millennium Dam. This is mostly funded by the GOE using bonds issued by the National Bank of Ethiopia. The project is sited on the lower Abay River about 30km from the Sudanese frontier. The RCC main dam will be 155m tall and 1,780m long with a 45m tall, 4.8km long CFR saddle dam supporting the reservior. The 350-MW Harbin sets are for the left-bank powerhouse and the 375-MW Alston sets are for the right-bank power house per a contract announced in Jul 2013. In Apr 2013, China extended a $1bn loan to the GOE for a 619km, double-circuit 500kV transmission line from the plant to Addis. Most of the funds will come from the EIBC.

Photograph courtesy of Studio Ing G Pietrangeli Srl
Posted 2 Dec 2015

Location: Tigray
Operator: Ethiopian Electric Power Corp
Configuration: 4 X 75 MW Francis
Operation: 2009
T/G supplier: China Wanbao Engineering Co
EPC: MWH, Energoproject-Hidroinzenjering, SinoHydro, China Gezhouba Construction, Sur Construction
Quick facts:  In mid-2001, EEPCo issued a bid to build a 300-MW power plant at the TK5 site on the Tekeze River in Tigray state 80km west of Mekele. This project had a lengthy history as the engineering consortium for Tis Abay-II produced feasibility studies, designs and tender documents for a plant that turned out to be essentially on the border with Eritrea. This location was abandoned and the project was reborn at a different site. In Jun 2002, EEPCo awarded the EPC contract to CWGS Joint Venture. At the time, the $224mn contract was the largest cooperative project between China and an African country. The main structure is a 185m, double-curvature concrete dam which is now the tallest in Africa. Over 3,500 workers were involved in plant construction, of which 750 were expats from four countries. Power generation started in Aug 2009 despite the fact that the reservoir was not completely filled.

Photograph courtesy of Ethiopian Electric Power Corp
Posted 18 Nov 2009


Data: industcards, Platts UDI World Electric Power Plants Data Base

Updated 14-Sep-2016