By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
February 19, 2012 (ADDIS ABABA) – Ethiopia has completed a power transmission line that links its power grid with neighbouring Sudan, state Electric and Power Corporation (EEPCO) announced.
Funded by the World Bank, the $41 million dollar power project, will now enable Ethiopia to export an initial 100 MW of electricity to Sudan making Khartoum the second beneficiary next to Djibouti which imports 35 MW of electricity and in return pays Ethiopia up to $1.5 million every month.
The 230KV and 296KM long transmission line stretches between the Ethiopian towns of Bahir-Dar and Metema and connects with a transmission line in Sudanese border town of Gedaref where it joins Sudan’s power grid.
According to World Bank, ‘the project will also enable Sudan to replace domestic thermal generation with surplus hydropower from Ethiopia, reducing Sudan’s greenhouse gas emissions’.
It further enables the two countries to better integrate their reserve capacity, thus improving reliability on the interconnected system, and ultimately providing savings on capital and operating costs.
African countries in recent years are registering promising economic growth and an increased power provision is being a central input to alleviate poverty.
The power trading between the two east African neighbours is also part of the countries poverty reduction strategies and will further boost their economic ties and is also seen as crucial link to promote regional economic development.
Ethiopia has Africa’s second-biggest potential hydropower after the Congo, however the Ethiopian government says the country has managed to exploit only a portion of this huge resource.
During the past few years, the horn of Africa country is investing billions of dollars to building power plants making it an emerging regional power hub.
Ethiopia, Africa’s leading coffee exporter, hopes to make electricity rather than coffee its biggest export when the power plants under construction and other new Dams get completed in the next 5 to 10 years.
Ethiopia also plans to export 400 MW of hydropower-generated electricity to Kenya by 2016 when the undergoing similar transmission line project completes.
The country has also has a long term plans to supply power to South Sudan, Tanzania, Somalia, and Yemen.