AFRICANGLOBE– France’s Alstom has signed a 250 million euro ($325 million) deal with Ethiopia for turbines and generators for Nile dam currently under construction which will become Africa’s largest, the firm said on Monday.
The Horn of Africa country is building an array of hydro electric projects and has plans to invest more than $12 billion in harnessing the rivers that run through its highlands to generate more than 40,000 MW of power by 2035.
The centrepiece of the plan is the $4.1 billion-Grand Renaissance Dam in the western Benishangul-Gumuz region. Officials say it is on course for completion by 2015.
“Alstom will supply and supervise the installation of all electromechanical equipment for the plant, including eight 375 MW turbines and eight generators for the first phase,” the company said in a statement.
“The contract also includes engineering and power plant commissioning.”
The dam will generate 6,000 MW at full capacity. Officials say more than 15 percent of construction has been completed.
Egypt, dependent on the Nile, has long cast a wary eye on Ethiopia for fear that its dams could reduce the flow. Addis Ababa says the projects will not have an adverse impact. An international panel of experts is set to announce its findings on the impact of the Grand Renaissance Dam on the Nile in four months
Nile Dam Pres Release:
Alstom has signed a €250 million contract with Metals & Engineering Corporation (METEC) to supply turbines and generators for the hydro power plant of the Grand Renaissance dam, located on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia. The power plant will be operated by EEPCO.
Alstom will supply and supervise the installation of all electromechanical equipment for the plant, including eight 375 MW turbines and eight generators for the first phase. The contract also includes engineering and power plant commissioning.
The commissioning will start in late 2013 and take place in successive steps over a three-year-period. In line with the expectations of the Ethiopian government, Alstom will oversee a programme to develop skills locally and know-how in the area of hydroelectricity.
When completed, the Grand Renaissance power plant, with a total output of 6,000 MW, will be the largest hydro project in Africa and a priority for the Ethiopian government. Once in operation, the power plant will quadruple Ethiopia’s current electricity production capacity.
The country is faced with rapid increase in electricity demand at an annual rate close to 10%. With an estimated potential hydropower production of 35,000 MW, Ethiopia aims to become a key regional player in power generation and the leading supplier of neighbouring countries.
“This contract strengthens Alstom’s prominent position in the African hydropower market. With the supply of the first high-capacity turbines in a short lead time, Alstom demonstrates its ability to meet the country’s power needs as quickly as possible,” declared Jérome Pécresse, President of Alstom Renewable Power. “In Ethiopia, Alstom is already supplying wind turbines for the Ashegoda project and is willing to play a major role in developing Ethiopia’s energy sector, enabling the country to drastically increase its power production capacity and develop local skills.”
Alstom has been active in Africa for 80 years and has numerous hydroelectric projects to its credit across the continent. In particular, Alstom has supplied Africa’s main hydropower plants in Mozambique, Angola, Ghana, South Africa, Sudan and more recently in Uganda.
Two additional contracts are currently under execution by Alstom for the supply of turbines and generators for the new Ithezi-Thezi hydro power plant (120MW) in Zambia, and the retrofit of the Inga 2A hydro power plant (712MW) in the Democratic Republic of Congo.