By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
October 6, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopia has connected its power grid with Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti in order to supply the countries with cheaper and cleaner hydropower processed electricity.
The Ethiopian Electric and Power Corporation (EEPCo) said on Monday that Ethiopia is currently exporting 195 megawatts of electricity to the three neighbouring countries, earning millions of dollars in return.
According to the state utility, Ethiopia is currently exporting 100MW of electricity to Sudan, while Djibouti and Kenya are being provided with 35 and 60 MW respectively.
As well as creating foreign currency, EEPCo said the power exports will also bolster Ethiopia’s economic ties with the three East African nations.
Kenya and Sudan are planning to import a total of 400 and 300MW a month of electricity.
Ethiopia has earnt around $40 million this year from the export of electricity to Sudan and Djibouti alone.
It also intends to export to electricity to Egypt, Uganda, Somalia and South Sudan once the massive Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) project, which is being constructed on the Nile River, is completed in 2015.
EEPCo officials said the $4.3-billion dollar plant, which is expected to have a power generation capacity of 6,000 MW of electricity, will create a surplus of power to export.
Ethiopia is currently investing billions of dollars in the construction of a number of hydropower plants, with the aim of replacing coffee with energy as the country’s major export item.
Once all of the hydropower projects are complete, Ethiopia’s total electricity generation capacity will increase to 10,000 from the current installed capacity standing at 2,370MW.
Ethiopia has power generation capacity of 45,000 megawatts from hydropower, but despite the huge potential has used only a fraction of its capacities.
The country also has a power generation capacity of 10,000 megawatts from wind and 5000 from geothermal energy.