Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) Starts Exporting Power to Sudan

By Kaleyesus Bekele
Dec. 09, 2012

Leaders to inaugurate power transmission line

The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) last month started a test export of electric power to the Republic of Sudan.

Mihret Debebe, EEPCo’s CEO, told reporters that the corporation started testing four weeks ago on the Gadarif Galabat electric power transmission line. The power transmission line is expected to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and President Omar Albashir of the Sudan soon.

The World Bank has provided a 41-million-dollar soft loan to the Ethio-Sudan Transmission Line project.

The 230 KV transmission line is 296 kilometers-long and has three sections with the last section stretching from Ethiopia’s border town of Metema to the Sudanese nearby town of Gedarif where it connects with the Sudanese power grid. Mihret said initially Sudan will be provided with 100 MW of electricity adding that leaders of the two countries will soon inaugurate the project. “The test began four weeks ago on the Gadarif-Galabat transmission line. And it is successful so far,” Mihret said.

Sudan will be the second country after Djibouti to receive Ethiopia’s electricity, which is generated mainly from hydro-powered damns.

Early this year Ethiopia began exporting 35 MW of electricity a month to Djibouti. Ethiopia charges Djibouti 70 dollars per kWh. The country earns 1.5 million dollars a month from its power export to Djibouti.
Ethiopia is also undertaking another power transmission project which will connect its power grid with Kenya which will enable Ethiopia to export 400 MW a month of electricity to Kenya. Ethiopia will soon start supplying power to the Northern part of Kenya. “Kenya’s Moyale and Sololo towns will get electricity from us,” Mihret told a group of reporters in Adama town.

According to EEPCo, the Ethiopia-Sudan Transmission Line Project is expected to further develop the East African Power Pool encompassing power interconnection projects between Ethiopia and Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia-Kenya and Uganda and Ethiopia and Sudan-Egypt.

“When the construction of Gibe III is completed we will certainly have surplus power to export,” Mihret said. Gibe III with an installed generation capacity of 1870 MW, the biggest power plant in Ethiopia so far, is considered to be the major turnkey project that will prove Ethiopia’s capability to export electric power to neighboring countries.

People do not have a positive attitude towards power export as the country at times faces power shortage. Mihret defends the corporation’s stance. “We will definitely have surplus power for export when we finalize the construction of Gibe III. It is a matter of only one year,” Mihret said.

According to Mihret, financiers encourage power export. “In order to secure loans for our power projects we have to export power. When we ask for loans, financiers ask us if we will export power to neighboring countries. Our government subsidies power tariff rate as our people do not afford to pay. At the local market, the power purchasing power is minimal. So we should support our power development projects by exporting power,” Mihret said.

Ethiopia has the capacity to generate 45,000 MW from hydro, 10,000 MW from Wind and 5000 from geothermal.