Ethiopian Construction Design & Supervision Works Corporation sealed a deal to conduct feasibility studies and design for the Wabi Hydropower Project which will generate 100MW of electric power.
The Ministry of Water, Irrigation & Electricity has awarded the project to the company during a ceremony at the Capital Hotel last Wednesday, May 2, 2018.
It will take 18 months to finalise the design and feasibility studies for the hydropower project. It is to be located in Wolqite, 158Km away from Addis Abeba, in the Gurage zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities & Peoples Region (SNNPR).
The Corporation will analyse and select the engineering, socio-economic and environmental aspects of the project. It will also carry out geotechnical and hydrological analysis based on test work and engineering analysis, to determine whether or not the project should advance to the design and construction phase.
The Corporation will be paid 22.2 million Br for its services, an amount that was the lowest in the restrictive bid the Ministry floated. Established in 2015, the firm designed and consulted different projects such as Ribb and Kesem dams, and Aqaqi and Legedadi deep wells.
The company vied with two local firms. One was Shebelle Consult Plc, which with the Water Works Design & Supervising Enterprise conducted a feasibility study in 2005 on the construction of the twin Gebba Hydroelectric Power dams worth 9.3 billion Br located on the Gebba river in Western Ethiopia.
The other was Yerer Engineering Consulting Plc, a firm that offers architectural, environmental and water engineering expertise. It is also one of the members of the consortium that were awarded the constancy job to oversee the construction of the new abattoir worth 91.2 million dollars for the Addis Abeba Abattoirs Enterprise last year.
“The restrictive bid was preferred to encourage local companies and to save foreign currency,” said Getu Tilahun, director of Hydropower Development, Study & Design at the Ministry.
The Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) will take over the responsibility from the Ministry when it gets to the construction phase.
Ethiopia has plentiful hydropower resources distributed along river basins and their tributaries. It is estimated that the nation has the capacity to generate 45,000MW of power from electricity alone. However, power blackouts are recurrent in the country as was evident the past week – an incident that was ascribed to a technical glitch at the Gilgel Gibe III dam in southern Ethiopia.
Hydropower is the main source of power, generating about 88pc of the electricity produced in Ethiopia. Currently, 4,238MW of power is generated from 13 hydro, six diesel, one geothermal and three wind farms.
By 2025, the government plans to build 14 hydropower projects, which will have the capacity of producing 11,100MW of power at a cost of 20.1 billion dollars. The currently under construction Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is expected to generate over 6,000MW of power alone.
Tigabu Atalo, an electrical engineer and power and energy consultant with over a decade of experience in the power sector, finds the project advantageous.
“It is located in an area where power is already being generated, thus there is no need to build additional transmission infrastructure,” Tigabu says. “Also, the central Western part of Ethiopia gets adequate rainwater, making it suitable for hydropower generation.”
Tigabu nonetheless warns that it is risky to depend too much on hydropower generation as the weather conditions might not always be favourable. He likewise believes that it is about time the government gives attention to the distribution infrastructure as it is falling behind. [Addis Fortune]