Ethiopia opens 420 MW dam, plans power exports
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini attended the opening of the dam during an Africa tour. Italy’s Salini Costruttori led the construction of the dam.
The new dam brings the power-generating capacity in Africa’s second most populous country to almost 2,000 MW.
Ethiopia’s mines and energy minister, Alemayehu Tegen, told Reuters in November the country would complete interconnection infrastructure between Ethiopia and Sudan and Ethiopia and Djibouti by the end of 2010 and become a power exporter.
Ethiopia plans to spend $12 billion over 25 years to improve its power-generating capabilities. Alemayehu said in November Ethiopia would produce 15,000 MW of power within 10 years.
Outages have been common in Ethiopia for five years. The country rationed power for over five months this year with lights going off every second day, closing factories, hampering exports and fuelling a shortage of hard currency.
Ethiopia has five other hydropower dam projects being built, some funded by the World Bank.
Power demand in Africa will rise by 150,000 MW between 2007 and 2030, according to the International Energy Agency.