Meeting the local one Ethiopia’s electric power supply could address the demand of neighbouring countries too


Using agriculture as a springboard Ethiopia is due to make a transition to a growth programme that uses industrialization as the powerhouse of its forward drive. The industrial plants, which have mushroomed throughout the country following the fertile ground created for investment two decades back are living billboards to this breakaway from a sluggish pace of growth.

When we go back in time and assess the history of countries like the People’s Republic of China that catapulted to the pinnacle of growth, we notice that it is by their bootstrap such nation rose to the helm of prosperity pursuing industrialization that presupposes electrification which in turn necessitates harnessing natural resources such as hydro-power fundamental for such purpose.

Mindful of this fact Ethiopia today is firm in the inexorable pursuit of electricity, which could serve a lifeblood to its industries ever expanding.

The country is dead set on breathing fire into its developmental drive harnessing its hydro power, wind, solar, biomass and geothermal potential begging for utilization. Not to compromise the system security during poor hydro logic conditions, thermal generation and other alternative sources could serve as a stand by with very low average plant factor for short term.

If the aforementioned resources for alternative energy Ethiopia is well blessed with are subdued and utilized efficiently and effectively, apart from spurring the country’s growth drive they could play quite a role in materializing the similar ambitions neighbouring countries entertain.

In the 25-year power expansion master plan study it tabled for discussion this week, that is what the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) confirmed. According to the corporation, by 2037, fully catering for its local power demands, Ethiopia eyes at generating surplus electricity that could address the requirements of neighbouring countries too.

In the workshop corporation’s higher officials, representatives of the World Bank, experts who have international acclaim, EEPCo had noted that tapping its hydro, solar, wind and geothermal potential Ethiopia is working to generate 37 thousand MW electric energy by 2037 and thereby become the electric tower of East Africa.

The maximum local demand then is extrapolated to be 33 thousand MW. True to the ideal of lending hands for mutual growth and regional integration, the extra 4 thousand MW energy will be shared among Kenya, Sudan, Djibouti and others.

Corporation CEO noted that the main objective of the master plan study is to develop the least cost transmission and generation expansion plan for the next 25 years. EEPCo with the financial support from the International Development Assistance (IDA) had hired a consultant bidding to undertake the highly required power system master plan update study.

According to the CEO, “The contract has bestowed huge responsibility to the consultant to arm the corporation with skilled manpower, software resource and also power system database for further updating of the study by own workforce.”

For the implementation of this noble plan over 150 billion USD is required. As the government single handed can’t make this plan a reality, investors, international and local financial institutions and concerned bodies are expected to lend hands. This is a mammoth undertaking requiring the coordination of resources from governmental, the private sector and financing institutions and other stakeholders who have common interest from their prospective markets.

This approach also helps the country reclaim its greenery and create rural and urban residential areas salubrious for health. Representative of World Bank, Ethiopia Office, second this. The fact that Ethiopia is now highly investing in the energy sector deserves appreciation. Hence the World Bank will back up the intended regional electric network that puts Ethiopia as the nerve centre.

Currently the electric supply and demand of the country shows imbalance. Due to the presence of factories, industries, service giving institutions and other enterprises that highly and non-stop feed on the country’s electric supply, Ethiopian annual electric consumption has increased by 35 per cent.

Presently there is a 2068 MW electric supply in the country.

Malpractices, structural problems in organizational set up, the oldness of terminals & transmission lines as well as skill gaps and shortage of human resource are attributable to the complaints about unfair electric distribution.

As the problems beg for a lasting solution redressing these problems down the road EEPCo envisages to come out potent.

Even if not entailed in the final plan for economic and complex reasons the tapping of nuclear energy is also considered.

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