Ethiopia has announced plans to upgrade certain equipment at the Gilgel Gibe II hydroelectric power plant after a successful conference held in Berlin, the German capital. Voith Hydro East Africa, the subsidiary of the German company Voith Hydro, has been chosen by the Ethiopian authorities to undertake the major project.
The contract was signed in Berlin by Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Power and Mark Claessen, Managing Director of Voith Hydro East Africa, in the presence of Peter Altmaier, German Federal Minister of Economy and Energy. Under the terms of the contract, Voith will upgrade the maintenance systems at the power plant.
Gilgel Gibe II hydroelectric power plant
The power plant is located 250 km southwest of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. It is located on the Omo River, but uses the waters of the Gilgel Gibe River. This is possible due to a tunnel connected to a feeder channel. The system extends over 26km under Fofa Mountain.
At its end, it is transformed into a penstock with a 500m fall. When the water reaches the power plant, it drives the four turbines supplied by Voith Hydro. The new turbines are thus capable of producing 420MW.
The other objective of the two-year contract will be to implement digital solutions that will allow maximum monitoring of the plant’s operation. “With the operation of the Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) facility, we want to use the full potential of the Gilgel Gibe II hydroelectric power plant. We will achieve this by minimizing downtime and breakdowns,” explains Mark Claessen.
The staff of the EEP will benefit from a transfer of skills through special training programmes carried out by Voith Hydro experts in East Africa. The company, which employs more than 40,000 people, is familiar with the Gilgel Gibe II hydroelectric power plant, having supplied four Pelton turbines and as many generators on behalf of the Italian company Salini Impregilo, which was executing the contract to build the facility.