Tekezze to officially open next week

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Tekezze to officially open next week

Unread post by ኦሽንoc » 02 Nov 2009 23:51

Tekezze to officially open next week

By Groum Abate

Tekezze Hydropower Plant, which is expected to curb the severe shortage of electricity in the country, is going to be officially opened next week on November 8.
Tekezze, whose 44 metre arch dam is the biggest of its kind in Africa, started production of 75 megawatts in mid-August as a test trial. The dam has four turbines each with a capacity of generating 75mw.
When fully operational, it is expected to add 300mw of much needed power to the national grid, increasing generating capacity to a total of 1,170mw. The current power demand in Ethiopia is 1600mw.


The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) signed the contract to construct Tekezze on June 7, 2002, with the Chinese National Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Corporation (CWHEC). The completion date was originally in 2007, but the project has been beset with unforeseen problems.
Tekezze is one of the three big projects EEPCo has undertaken in recent years, along with Gilgel Gibe II and Tana Beles.
Tekezze incurred the power utility company hundreds of millions of birr in delays and additional costs. The project had to negotiate geological problems when mountains at the site needed to be leveled. Also, there was a need to construct a restraining wall to avoid severe shearing.
The Chinese National Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Corporation (CWHEC) undertook the construction of the arch dam.
The project had four major parts: construction of the arch dam, power house, transmission line and sub-station.
In a related development, the second turbine of Gilgel Gibe II starts a test trial this Thursday, November 5. The test by EEPCo will attempt to generate 210mw from two turbines, which is half of the four turbines’ capacity. This construction has taken four and half years.
The main part of the project, the 25.9 km long tunnel was completed in early June this year. Out of the total cost of 373 million Euros, the bulk was budgeted for the drilling work. An additional 113 million Euros was spent on other works, including substations in Sebeta and around Gilgel Gibe I.
The main contractor for the construction of the power plant is the Italian company Salini Costruttori, which constructed Gilge Gibe I. The plant was expected to become operational by 2008, but as a result of consecutive natural hazards, it was delayed.
Gibe II, a continuation of Gilgel Gibe I project, does not have its own dam. Instead, it uses the water discharged by Gilgel Gibe I, channeled through the tunnel up to two km under Fofa Mountain to Omo River Valley where it harnesses an over 500 metre drop to generate the power. The tunnel has a diameter of 6.2 metres following concrete reinforcements.


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