Ethiopia hydroelectric power
The Gigel Gibe III Dam has began generation power in Ethiopia
Ethiopia hydroelectric power
The Gigel Gibe III Dam has began generating power in Ethiopia Pic credit:EEPCo

In East Africa, the Gilgel Gibe III hydroelectric power plant generated its first electricity on the 10th of October. The hydroelectric plant will have  1,870MW installed capacity upon completion, made up of ten 187MW turbines.

Announced on Twitter on Saturday evening, former Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy Alemayehu Tegenu tweeted: “Dear all, good news Gibe III had started power generation this evening.”

Although the Gilgel Gibe III dam is still under construction, the 243 m high roller-compacted concrete dam is, according to Ethiopia Electric Power, 88% complete. The plant will have cost $1.8 billion on completion.

The state-owned utility had originally planned for the first two generators to be commissioned in June 2015, with the remaining generators being operational by 2016. However, delays in the project resulted in October commissioning of the first two generators.

According to Tegenu, the Ethiopia hydroelectric power project will increase country’s power generation capacity by 234%.

The power generated  will be fed into the country’s national grid, thereby influencing Ethiopia’s socio-economic development.

On completion, the Gibe III dam will be part of the Gibe cascade, a series of hydroelectric power plants including the existing Gibe I  (184 MW) and Gibe II power station (420 MW). Planned extensions including Gibe IV (1472 MW) as well as Gibe V (560 MW) dams.

The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation owns and operates all of the Gibe assets.

Power export strengthened

According to a variety of sources, the project will promote the country’s power export programme assisting regional integration among neighbouring countries through the interconnected power network.

In July 2012 the World Bank endorsed the financing of transmission lines to Kenya. So far Kenya has only signed a Memorandum of Understanding for purchase of electricity from the plant.

This project is estimated to deliver about 500MW of its power to Kenya.

 Dear all good news GG III has started power generation this evening

— ALEMAYEHU TEGENU (@ALEMAYEHUTEGENU) October 10, 2015

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