Orlando, United States — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 20 December 2010 – The Tekeze hydropower project in Ethiopia has won the Project of the Year Award for the renewable/sustainable project category in Power Engineering magazine’s 2010 Projects of the Year Awards.
The winners were announced here at the POWER-GEN international conference and exhibition.
This year’s Projects of the Year award winners and honourable mentions produced facilities and/or technologies that ushered in breakthrough solutions in four categories: coal-fired, gas-fired, nuclear and renewable/sustainable.
The Tekeze hydropower project is located on the Tekeze River, a tributary of the Nile. The US$350 million (R2.4 billion) project “’ funded by the government of Ethiopia and owned by Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation “’ adds 40% more energy to the country, and was the largest public works project in Ethiopia’s history at the time of construction. Due to the lack of natural resources and the cost of imported fuels, power generation in Ethiopia comes primarily from hydroelectric sources.
The project includes the tallest arch dam in Africa at 188m. The dam is a double curvature concrete arch dam, a method of design that minimises the amount of concrete used, creating a reservoir 70km in length. An underground powerhouse, containing four 75 MW Francis Turbines, is located approximately 500m downstream of the dam and fed by a 75m-high intake structure connected by a 500m-long concrete-lined power tunnel. A 230 kV double-circuit transmission line 105km long was constructed through mountainous terrain to connect to the Ethiopian national grid.
A multi-stage impoundment approach was implemented during construction, which allowed the river diversion to be closed in May 2007, nearly two years prior to dam completion. This allowed for more than 3 Bm3 of water to be retained, advancing generation by more than one full year.
The value of the water captured via early impoundment was worth approximately US$40 million (R272 million). In addition to power generation, the Tekeze dam enables regulation of river flow allowing downstream communities year-round access to the water supply.