Hydro Power in Ethiopia: Current problem and the way forward

By Yared

Existing power shortage and construction of various hydro-electric power dams are very important issues that cover broad subjects that need to be addressed properly. Addressing various bits without looking the full picture may lead us to the wrong conclusion. Hence, first, we need to try to establish the extent of the current problem and its impact on the economy.  Second, we need to address whether actions taken by the government/EEPCo are good enough to alleviate the existing and mid-term power demand of the country. Then we can objectively evaluate the potential benefits of these investments in hydroelectric power generation.

In addition to pure economic analysis, we also need look at the long term impact of these investments on our energy security and our sovereign right to use our resources. We have to bear in mind that we are a landlocked country with the second largest population in Africa in a very troublesome neighbourhood. Furthermore oil is not going to get any cheaper and being self-sufficient in energy has to be part of national security strategy.

Reality Checks: Where are we now?

Many headlines about this issue are referring about “power blackout” and not having light in the living room every other day. That I believe is a minor inconvenience compared to the impact on the economy and livelihood of many people.

Power shortage in Ethiopia is creating lots of problem. Particularly heavy industries that cannot easily switch “on” and “off” their machineries, like cement, metal, tyre were closed for a month or more. A good example is a cement factory needs up to 16 hrs of heating to warm up its kiln to start production. Hence under the current one day on and the other day off arrangement, it would not be possible to operate a cement factory.

I do not know the detail but industries that are geared towards export to be given 24 hrs of power supply. May be it is possible to provide power to industrial estates in Akaki area or flower farmers because they are on the same route but companies that are in the wrong area cannot benefit from this provision.

Those industries deemed to be as non-essential like rock crashers have been told to switch off and go home. Even factories like printing that can easily switch “on” and “off” their machines were in trouble to keep with the demand by working 3 or 4 days a week. This has created a big financial pressure on many. Particularly companies with high debt level are struggling to keep up with re-payment and may be forced to file for bankruptcy. Government offices and service providers are also providing services three days out of five and half working days because computers, fax machines and the telephones need power.

Restaurants, Cafés and service industry are providing service in a shift. In one zone you can have hot drinks and the other cold drinks but when there is no power, the fridge too stops working. This problem exposes the consumers to health risk and you often get advised to have bottled drink than freshly squeezed juice. Pharmacies, medical centres, supper-markets that sell frozen foods or perishable goods have to either buy their own generator or compromise the quality of service. Above all, you would be surprising to learn how life is so dependent on electricity when you have to take the stairs to 9th floor.

Those are the main problems, of course, having no light in your living room creates some inconvenience but one can get used to the candle light.

Cause:

The cause is clear; the demand has exceeded the supply. According to EEPCo, Ethiopia has a capacity to produce about 850 MW power from hydroelectric dams and diesel generators, which the EEPCo says fell short of the national peak demand by 200MW.

This is what you read on the newspapers but you feel sceptical for a simple reason that 25% shortfall in supply shouldn’t be a cause for 50% of the country to go without light.

Furthermore the demand is growing day by day. Large industries are being built all over the country. For instance there are at least 4 or 5 cement factories being built and many more are on the pipe line. There is also significant expansion of mining, metal, sugar and other industries that need big power supply. Urbanisation and small industries are also growing fast. All these will increase the demand and the gap between the demand and supply cannot be easily bridged.

Reasons for rationing

In all fairness, the government take credit for investing heavily in this sector and probably it will be its biggest legacy, but the execution as everyone admits now is late at least by 2 years. In fact, things could be intolerable if there is no light at the end of the tunnel in few months time.

Medium-term

I think the future looks bright. Tekeze is expected to produce about 300 MW and Gilgel Gibe II around 420 MW in few months time. A paper published by Stevenson & Mhiret Debebe (CEO of EEPCo) on May 11, 2009 on International Water Power and Dam Construction, states that Tekeze is complete and has 3.1 billion cubic meters of water reserve by the end of 2008 rainy season and it could have started generating power if it had another 1.2 billion cubic meters water. The paper also states that Tekeze’s dam reservoir has a capacity to hold 5.34 billion cubic meter of water. In layman’s term, the dam is half full and as a result many express their fear that it may not start this year as well. I agree these figures do mean nothing unless we know how much water we expect in the rainy season.

The same paper states that the mean annual inflow of water into the dam is about 3.75 billion cubic meters. That means even having half of the mean annual inflow could add 1.2bm3 water needed to start the Tekeze dam. (Hope we will have normal rainy season not only for power generation but also for the poor farmers who depend on the rainfall). So in terms of probability Tekeze will be operational by Sep-October/09 as the officials predicted.

We have been also told Gilgel Gibe II project is 95-98% completed and it is expected to start in a month or two. That is why I am a kind of optimistic to believe that next year is going to be brighter.

No doubt these two dams will satisfy existing and growing demand but I am not sure whether it will satisfy the demand for power from the ever growing industry, urbanisation, and government plans to export power to neighbouring countries. I think this is where 460 MW Belese project which is 75% complete and 1870 MW Gilgel Gibe III may be needed.

Do we really need all these power stations?

I think the answer is yes for the following reasons:

    1. Ethiopia has the lowest per capita electrical consumption in the world, around 30 kwh compared to Iceland 27,000 kwh which is the highest. Even neighbouring countries like Sudan has 81kwh and Kenya 124 kwh, which is 4 times more per capita consumption than Ethiopia.

 

    1. We have about 45 GW hydropower potential but we have only developed 2% of our potential and the next year 1.5 GW capacities will increase it to about 3.3%. It has a long way to go to make use of our resources long before down stream users make it impossible to use it.

 

    1. Still with this planed future development, we may have about 5GW power by 2017-2020. This will be 1/3 of current Egyptian power generation, which is around 16.6 GW. When we evaluate these figures, we need to put in perspective that Ethiopia contributes about 75 billion cubic meters of water out of 84 billion cubic meters that is getting into Aswan dam.

 

    1. Geo-political politics changes and if we can not develop our resources now, there is no guarantee that we may develop it in the future.

 

  1. These dams are also big water reservoirs for our country that is suffering from shortage of water. This water can be used for irrigation, fishing, recreation and drinking water for this and many generation to come. I do not have exact figures but collectively all these dams can retain many billions cubic metres of water that can be used for various agricultural developments.

So in simple terms the sooner we develop it, the better. But the bigger question is that whether we can afford it. The other equally important question would be whether they will let us do it.

Gilgel Gibe III and International Pressure

Gilgel Gibe III is very important for various reasons. First, we need the power as industrialisation picks from very low level. Without GG III, Belese and other projects, we may face the same problem in 4 or 5 years.

Second it is our resource and we need to assert our rights over our resources. If we give into external pressure, we can also kiss good bye to other more contentious projects Ethiopia needs to develop desperately. While googling for information, I came across a letter written by an organisation called River International that claim to be an environmental group. The organisation has written letter to JP Morgan Chase lobbying not to lend money to Ethiopia for this project.

gilgel_iii_dam
Gilgel Gibe III Project (BBC)

The letter is not only full of distortions but also carries malicious yet subtle threats to JP Morgan Chase. It says Ethiopia’s demand is less than 600MW and does not need any more power station. As we all know that is not true. It says it is a misplaced interest for a country like Ethiopia to have a dam while the people are starving.

As we all know Electric power is the biggest invention that changes the productivity of human kind to alleviate poverty and improve the leaving standard and I do not know why River International thinks Ethiopia does not need power to tackle the famine itself. So GG III faces many challenges to become a reality. The government says it has already built 30% of the project and may need to go and do it with our money. Hope everyone who believes in our right to develop our resources would confront River International to produce the evidence or stop these patronising campaigns.

The fact that Gilgel Gibe IV appears to have secured financing from China is a big success. It is also indicative that China is not interested in funding GG III project which is being built by an Italian company.

Conclusions

Developing Ethiopian hydro-electric power is very important for national development, energy security, food production, and reducing deforestation. It may also help to reduce the negative trade balance by exporting electricity and reducing dependency on oil. The impact of electricity on industry, agriculture, mining, education, transportation, and health and food security is monumental. We are a landlocked country and oil is not going to get any cheaper. These dams are also huge water reservoirs and its impact on agriculture and fishing could help to break the cycle of famine.

References:

James R Stevenson & Ato Mihret Debebe “Hydro power in Ethiopia – the staged construction of Tekeze Arch Dam” International Water Power and Dam construction, 11 May 2009

Letter to JP Morgan Chase on the Gilgel Gibe III Dam

Installed capacity on Ethiopia’s ICS power grid

 

 

Comments

  1. I thank the writer for doing his bit to enrich the debate in this crucial and timely topic.

  2. Ethiopia says:

    It is a good approach by the writer. It is a good begining. However, the article heavily relies on the data from the government side. We know from experience that the data from the government side can be sexed up or skewed. Thus, the writer should have checked other opposing sources and incorporate it in his writing. Who knows such an endeavour may have taken the writer into a different conclusion. That, to me, is its biggest shortcomings. Nevertheless, it is a very good begining.

  3. Selamawit says:

    My fear is that, fully aware of the current informed political decision in almost every project by the EPRDF, it may not lead us to the truth if we do a pure economic analysis. The case in point is Tekeze dam where pure economical analysis gave way to the political will of the TPLF. There simply is a mix up or an overlap between sustainable business projects and the political will of the government in present day Ethiopia.

    Thus, when business is informed by politics, we all know that we are heading to disastor.

  4. I agree with Yared’s timely assessment of the Ethiopian’s power needs.

    I would like to highlight few points to ask VOA to ask River international few questions.

    Facts:

    1.Ethiopia has the lowest per capita electrical consumption in the world, around 30 kwh.

    2.We have potential to produce 45 GW hydropower but developed only 2%.

    3.Current demand cannot be met without building more dams

    4.We contibute 85% of the water that is getting to Nile and all our rivers are flowing outside and there is no river that is flowing in to Ethiopia. Hence, everyone is going to complain when we develop our resources.

    5.We are suffering from shortage of rainfall to feed our people. We have every right to survive and feed our people.

    Having said that I want VOA to ask representative of River International the following questions

    1. What is the basis of the River International to say that Ethiopia’s peak demand is 600MW, while existing 850 MW power can only supplied 50% of the country on ration?

    2. Is there any dam project that River International approve of anywhere in the world. Is it against development or is it against environmental degradation?

    3. MS Hathaway also says 90% Ethiopia power consumption may come from Hydropower as a risk, but what other alternative Ethiopia has. It cannot relay on natural gas or coal fired energy source? It is a landlocked country with negative trade balance to import fuel from outside?

    Is Ms Hathaway was in Ethiopia to understand that only 17% the population has access to Electricity? In what way Ms Hathaway see to provide electricity for the remaining 83% of the population without developing Ethiopia’s resource? Or does she think that they never had it and they don’t deserve it.

    As the operation map of River International shows in operates in all third world countries to stop progress but have no operation in US or Europe? US is the biggest producers of greenhouse gases which is threatening the survival of the planet? How come that protection of the planet does not include this major threat for survival of human race?
    http://internationalrivers.org/en/campaign-map

    Hope VOA would pick these issues with the River International CEO.

  5. Zerisenay says:

    -Why would financial and economic feasibility be an issue for the so called ‘river adovacy group’, and ironically more it does for Ethiopia (the owner)? This does not smell normal to me.
    -Why is the international community giving deaf ear to such arm twists which ultimately determine the fate of millions of Ethiopians …would it be logical for the international community to see Ethiopia starving and looking for its help for ever??? Where will such unfare advocacy tatics end?
    Enough is enough!!! Live us alone! We will try to cook it for ourselves!

    Zerisenay

  6. Tenagne says:

    The reader touched many important issues. Especially he explained the economic aspect of the hydropower projects. True, big projects are important, but we have to look into the engineering and environmental aspects of these projects. We have to reduce engineering side effects, the environment is aslo useful; the people as well.

    For your information, look at the following article

    http://www.mediaethiopia.com/Engineering/Lulseged_on_hydroelectric.htm

    Tenagne

  7. arbegna says:

    welcome to neo-colonialism

  8. Daniel B. says:

    Your assessment regadring power usage and future power demand is excellent. The point is as we know the only available source of information is ethiopian power corporation, no other source can provide the needed information. Having said that as ethiopians we should be optimistic rather than pessimistic. It is true the future is bright when the finished dams start operating. other alternative source of energy started in the country are Geothermal and wind energy will soon be implemented accordingly.

  9. this is realy important for all of us to see it not from political point of veiw but the iportance of the project and it is true the writer has point.

    please lets try to have positive thinking why do we have to think of politics for God sake even for second and think about our beloved country whom ever is in power???
    why always politic? where is our believe in the creator that he will make things right in miracles way not because we have the right person in power or not? specialy most of our cetizens who live in democratic free socities looks the one left behind understanding this fact! as one of my fellow sugest the time is now or later more complication even now we have trigur pointed on us unless we are ready to defend our selves.

  10. i dont understan why the west cried too much.i dont think it is worst progect than the one in china,egypt or oregon,US…
    how long the west like to use us in their billions dollar famien industry? keep it up meless!

  11. I dedicate this lyric to the so called environmentalist,

    The higher you build your barriers
    The taller I become
    The farther you take my rights away
    The faster I will run
    You can deny me
    You can decide to turn your face away
    No matter, cos there’s….

    Something inside so strong
    I know that I can make it…..No matter what Ethiopia will go a head with the much needed development.

  12. Though development in every aspect is positive, I don’t expect anything good from the Tigray government. So, at least I will be extremely cautious about whatever this regime is saying if I am not opposing it outright.

    By the way, what happened to that EEPCO bond that aiga was deafening our ear with. I am sure only Tigres who are currently owning the country bought it.

    Anyway, I believe democracy should be a condition to support this government’s actions.

  13. John Applegate says:

    The Turkana, Bana, Mursi, Dawro, Jinka, Koso and other tribal people have been cut off from the civilized (industrialized) world due to lack of modern means of communication. The project will transform their life besides generating tremedous income for the poor country. So, all Africans and friends of Africa should support it. There is only insignificant and temporary environmental damage that may reversed or corrected in due time. All Leaky’s groups should be quiet.

  14. Teshome says:

    I like the author’s summarized concerns and issues associated with power outage. Why did the country get into this messy situation? Is the exceedance of demand from supply unexpected? What was in the minds of the authorities when they were permitting the installation of so many factories in the past so many years? Did they anticipate these factories run by raw water? What was they thinking when the population was rising in the past 15 years? One of the critical responsibilities of a government is to project needs and fulfill those needs ahead of time in a sustainable manner. It shouldn’t be “mushira meta berberie qentisu….”.The lack of visionary leader is the only and only cause of the problem the country is facing now. At present, the power output is 30 – 50% below capacity. Stay tuned for a detailed analysis of the cause of the power shortage. But, to give you few hints; (1) inadequate maintenance of the existing power generation facilities including the reservoirs; and (2) Delay of the completion of the new power generation set ups due to commencement of the construction without adequate technical and economic studies.

  15. the current long blackout is very depressing but if this dams come through as promised things should be ok in the near future.
    what i am not getting is why cant they run tekeze since it is completed with the water level it has to fill the gap.

  16. Bereket says:

    This is the first article I have read that doesn’t not look to blame any one for the crisis in our country. I pray for a rainy season to fill the dams, because without the dams operational I don’t think the ethiopian economy would survive another year of rationing.
    thank you for the article.

  17. It would be good for VOA to ask Ms Hathaway, whether she had a chance to live for a week without light, fridge, TV etc? Can Ms Hathaway tell us how 80% of Ethiopian can have light, school, medical treatment etc without having power? It is easy to preach from one comfortable arm chair in 24hrs air-condition office. To live in darkness, to study under candle light, not have a fridge to keep life saving medicine is something Ms Hathaway may not know.

    The Word is being destroyed by 20% of the developed counters who are consuming 80% of the world resource.

    Hope VOA will ask probing questions so that River International enlighten us how we can have light without having dams.

  18. Germame says:

    Thanks Ato Yared for your clear analysis of the power needs of the country and what we need to do as Ethiopians. Please do not listen to the very few detractors who see posetive developments in our country only through the eyes of politics and ethnic racism. They will always be there no matter what is done and by whom. I also thank Ato Taye for posing those pertinent questions to VOA for their follow up with those anti-development and pro-poverty NGOs and their spokespersons.
    Keep it up and we shall triumph in unison!!!

  19. Useful links taken from Ato Kebede -Ethiopians-forum yahoo group

    Info about Renwable engery

    http://www.energyrecipes.org/reports/genericData/Africa/061129 RECIPES country info Ethiopia.pdf

    Source: Italian Cooperative Agency

    [url]http://www.itacaddis.org/italy/index.cfm?fuseaction=basic_pages.basic_page&page_name=47[/url]

    Ethiopia’s quest for Energy
    [url]http://www.voanews.com/horn/2009-06-22-voa1.cfm[/url]

    Source: Energy, Hydropower Pre 1991:
    [url]http://countrystudies.us/ethiopia/101.htm[/url]

    Web Site: Ethiopian electric Power Corporation
    [url]http://www.eepco.gov.et/profile.html[/url]

    Source: BBC Sun Energy empowers Ethiopian Village

    [url]http://climateprogress.org/2009/07/16/energy-and-global-warming-news-uk-government-kickstart-clean-energy-solar-power-empowers-ethiopian-village/
    [/url]

  20. I liked your analysis because it is kept simple and to the point. Would you please say something to all Ethiopians regardless of their political affiliation to buy the bond offered by EEPCo. First it is a good investment (5% interest is good)for one deposit his money in a foreign bank the interest rate is not that much at least in European bank which I know.

  21. http://www.capitalethiopia.com/archive/2009/July/week4/local_news.htm#4

    Related topic

    EEPCo looks to win West African contract

    By Muluken Yewondwossen

    The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) recently participated in an international tender to manage the operation of the recently completed Bumbuna Hydroelectric Project (BHP) in Sierra Leone, which was constructed by Italian-based firm Salini.
    The state-owned power corporation has over a half century experience on the management of electric dams in land, but this interest in managing a site abroad is the first time in the history of the corporation.
    The Sierra Leonean National Power Authority (NPA ) has invited firms to operate and maintain installations in accordance with internationally recognised best practices. Furthermore, it wants to establish and implement a maintenance program for all equipment and facilities, including the transmission system. An emergency action plan also needs to be developed and implemented.
    Other big international power companies were expected to show their interest in the tender that opened a month ago, but no one aside from the Ethiopian firm participated. Because of that, the NPA was forced to re-tender.
    Mehiret Debebe, EEPCo, general manager, recently told Capital they are waiting the final result of the tender.
    According to the corporation expert , this kind of investment will contribute to earning foreign currency. In the event of winning the contact, over 40 professionals and other EEPCo employee will go to the West African nation, according to the corporation’s plan.
    EEPCo is full of professionals on dam management. It is managing seven hydro power sites and will include two other huge sites in the coming month.
    BHP was developed in 1970, but civil conflict in the country caused construction work to be suspended in 1997, but, by then, the project was 85 per cent complete. It was only in June 2005 that the World Bank approved the resumption of construction.
    The project entails a hydropower complex, located on the Seli River, in the valleys of the Sula Mountains, approximately 200 kilometres northeast of Freetown, in the Kalansogoia Chiefdom of the Tonkolili district. It encompasses an 88 metre high rock-filled dam with an asphalted concrete upstream face; a 50 MW power station, housing two turbine-generator units of 25 MW each; a transmission system consisting of 200 km of 161 kV transmission line from the power station to Freetown; a substation in Freetown to feed power into the Western Area grid; and a separate power service to Makeni, Lunsar and Port Loko.
    The BHP is seen as beneficial to the future of Sierra Leone’s electrical power sector because it can greatly improve the current power supply situation by providing a reliable supply of electricity that would meet the electricity needs of the country, including Freetown, at the lowest possible cost and in a sustainable manner.
    Much of Sierra Leone’s power generation capacity was hampered during the civil war. The country currently experiences frequent blackouts and in the Freetown peninsula, electricity supply is available to customers only for a few hours every week. Most areas in the interior of the country are wholly or largely without access electricity.
    About 90 per cent of Sierra Leone’s electricity is consumed in the country’s four main cities: The capital city of Freetown uses 82 per cent of the country’s electrical power, followed by Kenema which uses three per cent, Bo uses three per cent, and Makeni uses two per cent of the country’s power supply. Sierra Leone’s power generation relies substantially on fuel oil imports. Freetown’s electricity supply comes from the oil-powered Kingtom power generating station, which struggles to provide a continual and an uninterrupted power supply, due to it being in poor condition.
    The Government of Sierra Leone has received a supplementary loan from the African Development Fund to meet the cost of completing the Bumbuna Hydroelectric Project, and it intends to apply part of the funds to eligible payments under the contract for the management, operation and maintenance of the Bumbuna Hydro Power Plant and associated transmission facilities. Bidding will be conducted through the international competitive bidding procedures as specified in the African Development Bank’s Rules of Procedure for Procurement of Goods and Works and is open to all bidders from eligible source countries as defined in the same rules. Italian based Salini Costruttori is currently constructing three huge hydro power projects in Ethiopia; Gilgel Gibe II, Gibe III, Tana Belese and it constructed Gilgel Gibe I five years ago.

  22. This article was timely and help us understand the current shortages, and the current Nile Basin agreement issues. The article rightfully mentions the delay in starting the many projects as the source of current shortage. Not just the delay in completing Tekeze and GG II but in general the delay of over 20 years since the completion of Fincha. Definitely,in large part to the success of Egypt in delaying funding, no doubt Egypt would remain a problem. Does anyone know why Ethiopia would not joint Egypt and Sudan’s treaty? Sudan was able to renegotiate the initial 1929 deal and get a larger share. I am sure we can do the same thing, even though we might get a smaller share of say 20bcm or less. The Hydro electric dams we will build would not require that much water except to fill the dams initially. Thereafter, water has to flow to generate electricity,we really can’t use more than 6-7bcum/year if we are going to get electricity. So why not given in to Egypt’s bulling and limit our rights to the water, but then open up unlimited amount of electricity for our use and for export? Does anyone know the details of our negotiating position with Egypt? To me, I think our position maybe rightful, but not practical and has not achieved anything since the early 1960s. The Recent Nile basin initiative has produced nothing after almost 10 years of negotiation. We are back to square one as Egypt and Sudan won’t badge. The attempt to use the other ten countries as a cover has not worked, as they don’t have any clout with World Bank.

    The other Alternative is to negotiate with China for the entire Nile Basin development financing as we saw in GG IV.

    NB: The article mentions that Egypt uses 16GW electricity; it should be pointed out that only 2GW of this is from Athe swan Dam, and the other 14GW is produced using expensive oil. Surely, we can show Egypt the wisdom of getting 14GW of electricity from Ethiopia at a price lower than they can save by exporting their oil. Actually, why not buy their oil and sell them electricity? I wish we use innovative approaches that increase the pie than continue with the approaches we have tried and failed.

  23. TQ U!! Yared, I am not a good poletishian and I am not an expert on hydro-electric or enginering but I love my country and my people. I want to hear and see a better life.

  24. getachew says:

    i would like to apreciete the data that is presented by the writer.he tries to show the exat and real figear.so we all ethiopias shoul do what we can.we have to also informed society and help the goverment for all activities which are vital for the country and scocity development even if we have different political idology.

  25. mhammed from Qatar says:

    i really apprciate mr.Yared about his openion. Ethiopia is a poor country and it needs the electric power for it’s economy for that we all ethiopians should stand together the so called oppsition figrs too should understand that if their struggle is for beter life of all ethiopians it is not a mater of Melles or EPRDF.

  26. zelalem m says:

    i am optimist that G-3 will solve the shortage of power but for this to see a change we ethiopians have to held eachothers hand and strugle and do our maximum forget politics fight poverty.thanks mr. yared

  27. Good analysis. When I think of the problem of the country, the first thing that cross my mind is the country is heighly dependent on the the rainfall. The agriculture is affected for the past 50 years by the problem of the rain fall. Food was donated to feed our population. Now the power is also become dependent on the rain fall. (hydro power.) I am not sure how the metrological data predict the rain pattern from the past and the uncertainity of the current climate change.
    In my opinion the contry need another source of energy. The energy mix must be done to support the weak side of our hydro system. This can be done by introducing biofuel and biomass as energy source.

  28. http://www.waltainfo.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=13654&Itemid=47

    Kenya To Add 270 MW To Electricity Grid
    Thursday, 06 August 2009
    Aug 5, 2009 (Javno) Kenya plans to boost its electricity generation by 270 MW by October to ease a deficit caused by dwindling hydropower generation that has caused supply cuts, Energy Minister Kiraitu Murungi said on Tuesday.

    He said planned projects included 26 MW from sugar cane by-products due to hit the national grid in August, and 244 MW thermal power due online at different times ending in October.

    East Africa’s biggest economy will also save another 50 MW in electricity demand by distributing 1.25 million energy-saving light bulbs worth 300 million shillings ($3.92 million).

    Kenyan demand has grown in recent years due to booming economic activity following decades of stagnation. Peak power demand stands at about 1,050 MW against an installed capacity of 1,100 MW, which includes emergency reserves.

    The distributor, Kenya Power Supply Company (KPLC), said that, as of this month, the country was seeing an average shortfall of 70 MW at certain times of day.

    In early July, the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KENGEN) stopped producing 40 MW of electricity at one hydro dam due to drought that cut water levels.

    Murungi told a news conference that the dry spell had slashed electricity production on the Tana River, the site of most of Kenya’s hydropower stations, by 60 percent.

    This month, the government will float a tender worth 130 million shillings for the reforestation of one of Tana’s catchment areas, the minister added.

    He said that due to the shortfall, distributor Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC), will introduce power cuts later in the week, but that this would not affect industrial areas, vital installations and town centres.

    “I think the main challenge will be felt in the month of August and the beginning of September, as we bring all these other power stations … on stream,” he said.

    To boost electricity supply in the long term, Murungi said the government planned to buy a minimum of 500 MW from Ethiopia once its Gibe IV dam was completed.

    Kenya was also in the early stages of a plan to import electricity produced by natural gas from neighbouring Tanzania.

    “What they (Tanzania) proposed and we thought was a great idea was for them to generate power using natural gas and then we just import power through an interconnector. We are just starting, so it will take a long time,” Murungi said.

    [b][/b]

  29. I think that the dam is damaged or ther water is low & i fear that the electricity is going to be shut down for cuple of mounth, you say that there is no water but as you see it raing much than we expected, but Thanks Ato Yared for your clear analysis of the power needs of the country and what we need to do as Ethiopians.
    Ethiopia is a poor country and it needs the electric power for it’s economy for that we all ethiopians should stand together the so called oppsition figrs too should understand that if their struggle is for beter life of all ethiopians it is not a mater of Melles or EPRDF.

  30. I am glad we have such level headed Ethiopians who clearly discuss real issues without any political bias. Guys,governments come & go but,the country & people stay.

  31. Aribegnaw says:

    I agree about the contribution of power on the overall development of the country. But my fear is with the current development of hydroelectric power their may be retaliation from those country who belief they my lose some of their interest from the river development. ………Ethiopia contributes about 75 cubic meters of water out of 84 cubic meters that is getting into Aswan dam. What will be the response of Egypt? so any development effort in Ethiopia calls for the need for strength the country military power and national reconciliation to talk the same language. To do this the ball is in the hands of those elites who are in power. Don’t forget that who control Abay or Nile will control Egypt, who control Egypt will control the middle east and who control the middle east will control the world. This is not fiction this is fact. So let alone our internal stability but also our diplomatic ability is so week to keep the interests of Ethiopia. Because of the position of Egypt in the middle east Egypt is by far ahead than Ethiopia to keep her interest along with the Tran boundary river development.

  32. Great,
    thank you so much for making things clearer.

  33. Ok ok… it is all good news we are going to have a bright future for the country in terms of energy sources – at least that is the plan and the talk. Some projects are underway GG III and IV and all. How about now? Aren’t those people working in the factories lose jobs when they shut down. Don’t their families starve?
    It just doesn’t add up to me that all of a sudden there is an increased demand. There is still shortage after almost all medium size and large scale plants are closed. Rain ?? we will see, it has been raining the last 3 months.
    And by the way, we can not see the politics and the economy separately, never. If Ethiopia were rich (at least self sufficient), there would have been less tribal politics.
    The government needs to also focus on fulfilling people’s needs for today (at least not screwing around with what is there already) and not just 5-10 years in the future.

  34. DO you think the power rationing problem is due to rain?????????? I really dout???

  35. Thank you Yared.

  36. for your information

    http://www.et.emb-japan.go.jp/electric_report_english.pdf

    energy studies in Ethiopia,2008

  37. gebrai said,

    Thank you yared, this is the it should be for ethiopians. But also it is wisely written as it should be.

  38. MULUBERHAN LOLIA says:

    Thank you for your information. By anyway, it is insane to oppose any fund that is given to our poor country and people. Our people need development and it is impossible to do with our resources alone.

  39. I appreciated ato yared,we need Energy!!!.But do we allways should have to relay on the rain water. We should have to think about the other alternative energy sources(wind,sun,Geotermal,…) and Nuclear Energy (for peaseful perpose…even we are poor).How about the capacity of our Dam to hold water.No study actualy reported on the decrease of the capacity of dams previously constructed and the ones being constructed with respect of siltation.I feer EEPCo have Soil and Water Engineers and Foresters. Please Yared inclued the extent of problems of soil degradation problems on our dams.

  40. Antensay Mekoya says:

    Dir Sir/Madam,
    I want to know the performance of Ethiopian Dams in MW for the year 2009 in kiremt that is for June,July,August and September for the year 2009 for each dam.
    Please give me or inform me where can I get this information.
    my email address is;
    mekoya.antensay@gmail.com
    Thank you very much.

    With best regards,
    Antensay Mekoya

  41. Existing facts!
    We need the electric power,becouse we are in shortage;
    We need the money from inside and outside,becouse…;
    We need genuine politicians and technical expertice from inside to do the job clean in favor of their citizens and country;
    We have to ignore ve and -ve advise against the implementation,becouse it is ower priority; and
    We need strong personality who can change all the evils to success.

    If we can settle the above,we could be…

  42. solomone getahew says:

    i well supporte in full the conestrsction of any hydreo power in ethiopia.what did international rivers do when egypt build 16.6gw dam.i wish voa show the pro and co of the dam.your reoport is on side

  43. FIREW BELETE says:

    Bravo Mihheret The Hydro electric power generation will not be enough Go for coal plant also!!!! They say we have ABUNDENT COAL MINE TOO!! Continue with electric generation be it hydro or coal wind solar .Listen to non of those who say Ethioipia should remain poor and we will send food aid forever for the poor people.Dont stop pushing more electric genration caopacity hydro coal wind solar.The dams will also help agriculture .Lets atleast have plenty of corn and feed our people.IRRIGATION MODERN FAMING MORE ELECTRIC GENERATION COAL HYDRO WIND SOLAR.

  44. Girma gibo ,AU/SOE/EENG says:

    Yes,we need power to reduce our our power shortage.
    Now a day our power consumption is dramatically increasing,this may indicates developmental activities are running using power.So what is wrong if we construct so many Hydroelectric-power stations?
    “ERATINA MEBRAT AYASATAN!” amharic ,my wish to ETHIOPIA.

  45. GUZMANLatasha27 says:

    If you want to buy a car, you will have to get the personal loans. Moreover, my sister all the time utilizes a auto loan, which supposes to be the most useful.

Read previous post:
Lack of rain causes famine in Ethiopia

Drought in the south of Ethiopia is causing severe famine. Up to 10 million people in the country are in...

Close