Ethiopia to build two more dams for power generation

by Zelalem

World Bulletin/News Desk

Ethiopia is planning to build two more hydro-electric dams over the southern Omo River on border with Kenya for generating electricity, an Ethiopian spokesman said Saturday.

“Gilgel Gibe IV and V hydro-electric dams will be part of Ethiopia’s next big projects during the next five-year national plan,” Bizuneh Tolcha, spokesman for the Water Ministry, told Anadolu Agency.

He said the two dams will have the capacity to generate 2,050 megawatts of electricity.

“Some 1450 megawatts of the total electric power will be produced by Gilgel Gibe IV while Gilgel Gibe V will generate the remaining,” he said.

Tolcha said that the cost of the two dams will be announced “when the assessment is completed”.

Ethiopia has begun to sell bonds in the capital market as to generate funds for its mega-projects.

Local media reported Friday that BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and JP Morgan have been selected to manage the bond sales.

Ethiopia built the Gilgel Gibe I on the Omo River in 2004. The dam has an electric output of 184 megawatts.

Gilgel Gibe II was inaugurated in 2010 and 80 percent of the construction has been finalized.

Kenyan activists have been lobbying against the construction of Gilgel Gibe dams on the ground that it will significantly impact the lives of communities around Lake Turkana – a claim denied by Ethiopian government.

Ethiopia has the potential to produce more than 45,000 megawatts of electricity from hydro-power.

“There are other hydro-electric projects being considered,” Tolcha said.

Ethiopia is planning to build a number of dams for electricity generation, including a controversial hydroelectric dam on the Nile’s upper reaches, which has strained relations with Egypt.

Ethiopia says it needs the dam to generate badly-needed energy. Egypt, for its part, fears the dam will reduce its traditional share of the Nile River – its main source of water.

Addis Ababa insists the new dam will benefit downstream states Egypt and Sudan, both of which will be invited to purchase the electricity thus generated.

Ethiopian authorities also commenced the construction of the Geba dam in September of this year in western Ethiopia at a cost of $583 million.


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