New 2,000 MW hydro-power dam in Ethiopia is set to be launched to help boost manufacturing and industrialization of its agrarian economy, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has announced. Already Ethiopia has a collection of projects under construction.
“The launch of this new dam will be commenced soon,” Hailemariam confirmed without giving further details.
The country is currently planning to become a top regional electricity exporter and under a new development plan, by 2015-2020 Addis Ababa has a vision of raising output to 17,346MW from a current capacity of just over 2,200MW from hydropower, geothermal and wind sources.
Ethiopia’s bid to tap several rivers for power generation is part of its plans to boost manufacturing and industrialization of its agrarian economy.
Some of the projects that the country has participated in are the US$ 4.1bn Grand Renaissance Dam that will produce 6,000MW of power once complete probably within the next five years, the 1,800MW Gilgel Gibe 3 Dam in its southern region.
These positive projects have however come with some challenges in Egypt and Kenya since they solely depend on the Nile and they have expressed concern that the Renaissance Dam will reduce the river’s flow. Both countries are currently in discussions over the project’s technical details. Rights groups in Kenya also say that the Gibe 3 Dam, and a related irrigation scheme, could reduce the volume of water in its Lake Turkana.
Ethiopia also signed a mega deal with a U.S.-Icelandic firm in 2013 to build a 1,000MW geothermal plant which will be the country’s first privately-run utility was also part of the negotiations with international companies to build more power generating projects.
Experts rank Ethiopia’s hydropower potential at about 45,000MW and geothermal at 5,000MW while its wind power potential is assumed to be Africa’s third-largest after Egypt and Morocco.