A much-delayed USD 1.8 billion dam project under construction along Ethiopia’s Omo River could begin generating power by June and be fully operational by early 2016.
Gibe III will nearly double the country’s energy output, helping to resolve chronic power outages and sustain a booming economy. Work started in 2008 and was due to be completed around three years later, but the project has faced funding shortages over concerns about its environmental impact.
“Eighty eight percent of the work for the Gibe III hydropower project has already been completed,” Azeb Asnake, chief executive officer of the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, said.
Two of ten units would be ready by June, Azeb said, while one additional unit would come on line each month after that. Upon completion the project will generate 1,870 MW of power.
Ethiopia plans to spend a total of USD 12 billion to tap the rivers that cascade down its craggy highlands over the next two decades in a bid to beat energy shortages and become Africa’s biggest power exporter.
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