25-year Power Expansion Master Plan study tabled for discussion

–  Dallol power plant, which would be primarily used for potash production, included in plan as indicated in map below

–  Solar power also being considered and a US partnership has been awarded three100MW solar power projects to be installed in East Ethiopia. One of those projects would meet Allana Potash’s, and possibly neighbour Yara’s, requirements. Allana’s CEO has recently hinted in this article http://business.financialpost.com/2013/11/06/allana-ceo-farhad-abasov-ethiopian-opportunity/ that solar may well be at least part of the project’s power source.

Map showing the geothermal sites in Ethiopia

• Demand could reach 37,000 MW by 2037

 A two-day workshop on the next 25 years Ethiopian Power System Expansion Master-Plan study, which envisages that power demand could reach 37,000 MW by the end of 2037, kicked off here yesterday.

The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation with the financial support from the International Development Assistance (IDA) hired Parson Brinkerhoff UK through bidding to undertake the highly required power system master plan update study.

Corporation CEO Mehiret Debebe said the main objective of the study is to develop the least cost transmission and generation expansion plan for the next 25 years.

“The contract has also bestowed huge responsibility to the consultant to capacitate the Corporation with skilled manpower, software resource and also power system database for future updating of the study by own workforce,” he said.

The study began a year ago. The consultant has already submitted the load forecast report which proved with scientific rigour and model that the expectation of high demand could reach over 37,000 MW by the end of the study period, which is 2037.

Currently, the country produces some 2,300 MW while many hydropower, wind and solar energy generation projects are underway.

In the interim report presented at the workshop, the Corporation and the consultant have documented their findings as to how Ethiopia’s power system shall develop in the coming years to meet reliably the anticipated demand with the least cost investment.

According to Mehiret, the final recommendation plan centres on huge hydro power development, which the country is abundantly endowed with, and as energy mix incorporates wind, solar, biomass and geothermal plants.

In addition, not to compromise the system security during poor hydrologic conditions, the consultant has proposed thermal generation operating almost as standby with very low average plant factor for short term. High Efficiency Combined Cycle gas turbines with higher plant factor are also proposed after 2025 when the candidate hydro resources in pipeline with lower cost of generation are exhausted.

“This is an indication to the need for identifying other potential projects for further consideration in the future plan update activities as we believe that Ethiopia has more than 45GW hydro potential,” the CEO said. Though not incorporated in the final plan due to economic and other complex reasons, nuclear power plants were also examined as possible candidates.

“We have to give serious attention to recommendations which are within ten years horizon”, he said. “According to the plan, we need to finalize feasibility studies for Gibe IV, Gibe V, Upper Dabus, Birbir, and Genale Dawa V and others within a very short time.”

He said: “We need to implement with a sense of urgency; more than 15 hydro plants with a total capacity of about 10,000 MW on top of the ones which are currently under construction.”

The plan also indicates that 900 MW wind, 300 MW solar and 1,000 MW geothermal are needed within the 10 years period. Moreover, more than 16,400-kms extra and high voltage transmission lines need to be laid.

The 25 years Expansion Plan requires more than 150 billion USD for its implementation. This is a huge task requiring the coordination of resources from governmental, the private sector and financing institutions and other stakeholders who have common interest from this prospective market, Mehiret said.



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