Ethiopia Says Electric Coverage Now 47 Percent

powerlines
Ethiopia can become a regional power hub

Ethiopia has been able to raise electricity coverage to almost half of the country, as the nation claims to be have one of the highest coverage on the continent.

Ethiopia has raised its coverage to 2,140 megawatts (MW) from 370MW two decades ago, ensuring that 47 percent of the country is covered.

The Horn of Africa nation has embarked on a multi-billion dollar power investment to generate about 10,000MW of power in the next four years.

“The number of electrified towns and rural villages increased to over 6,000 from eight percent some 21 years ago, which brought the electric coverage to 47 percent,” said Miheret Debebe, Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) CEO.

“Moreover, the total length of high voltage transmission lines has increased to 11,124 km from 3,578 km, while the number of power substations climbed to 140 from 82.”

Debebe told journalists that the length of low voltage transmission lines, which transmit electric power, had also been boosted to 133,838 km from 9,972 km, an increase of more than a thousand percent.

Ethiopia is focusing on developing the country’s hydroelectric potential to meet domestic demand and increase electricity exports.

Already it supplies power to neighbouring Djibouti and is preparing to exports to Sudan in the near future. Kenya and South Sudan have also signed deals to get power supply from Ethiopia.

Debebe said Ethiopia’s power demand had been growing at an average rate of between 25 and 32 percent a year and the amount of power necessary to provide for this demand by the year 2015 is forecast to be 10,000 MW.

“In order to meet the demand a number of power projects are being executed in various parts of the country by allocating some 2 billion euro annually,” Debebe said..

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile with installed capacity of 6,000MW and the Gibe III on the Omo River with installed capacity of 1,870MW are the two main hydro projects being carried out.

“These projects, including the wind farm in Ashegoda and Adama in Tigray and Oromia states, respectively, will enable the country to meet local demand and raise the electric coverage to 75 percent by 2015, “added Debebe.

Debebe said a feasibility study and other related preparations had been finalised to commence the Ethiopia-Kenya electric interconnection.

The World Bank (WB) and African Development Bank (AfDB) have provided a US$1.3 billion loan for the project.

Ethiopia has the capacity to generate over 60,000 MW from hydroelectric, wind and geothermal energy resources.