Ethiopia starts electricity exports to Djibouti

Jun 13, 2011 12:00 AM

by Samson Haileyesus

Ethiopia has started exporting electricity to Djibouti, charging 70 dollar cents per kWh, much higher than Ethiopia's rates that are pegged at 0.065 dollar cents.
The move signals the possible start of Djibouti, which consumes an estimated 0.23 bn kWh of electricity, ending its dependence on diesel fuelled generators against a backdrop of spiralling fuel prices.

Over the past five years, the Ethiopian government has obtained close to $ 64 mm in grants from various sources to finance the transmission lines to Djibouti. This forms part of the country's wider plans to fund the generation of electricity by exporting electric power to its neighbours, including Kenya and Sudan.
The installation of power transmission lines that stretch to Djibouti and Southern Sudan have been completed. Ethiopia has an initial agreement to supply 200 MW to Djibouti, 200 MW to Sudan, and 500 MW to Kenya. Projects interconnecting Ethiopia with Sudan and Kenya are being carried out with a multi-million dollar donation from the World Bank (WB).

Ethiopia is expected to start exporting 100 GWh as early as the end of the month, which would earn the country an estimated $ 50 mm. The Ethiopia-Sudan Transmission Interconnection Project forms part of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), which is supported by the WB to improve the effectiveness of power systems in the Eastern Nile region.
The NBI, a partnership between riparian countries, provides a framework for promoting cross border investments designed to generate benefits at the national and regional levels. The transmission line route is divided into three sections: Metema-Shehedi and Shehedi-Gonder have been completed, while Gonder-Bahir Dar is still underway.

Upon becoming operational, the $ 4.7 bn Renaissance Hydropower Project on the Abay River near the Sudanese border will be the centre of Ethiopia's power exports to north and eastern Africa. The mega dam will link Ethiopia's hydropower plants to the 12 nation Southern Africa Power Pool through Tanzania.
Ethiopia currently has an annual power generation capacity of 2,000 MW and plans to boost its capacity by up to 8,000 MW, as envisioned in the GTP. If successful, huge investments in power plants could make electricity, rather than coffee, the nation's chief export over the next 10 years.

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