(Fasika Tadesse/Addisfortune, 4 March 2018)
Ethiopia and Sudan are negotiating a bilateral agreement for the installation of the second power interconnection line, which will enable Ethiopia to export 1,000MW of electric energy to Sudan.
This deal could bring a 50 million dollar monthly revenue to the country generating 35 million dollars from exporting electricity during the first half of the current fiscal year. In the last six months, Ethiopia earned a total of 1.23 billion dollars from exports in general.
Last year the nation generated 73.4 million dollars exporting electricity to Djibouti, Sudan and Kenya.
The interconnection line extends from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), currently under construction, to Khartoum, Sudan passing through Rabak, a city in south-eastern Sudan and the capital of the Sudanese state of White Nile.
With its largest section in Sudanese territory, a country with a population of 41 million people, the interconnection line has a total length of 580Kms. Only 17Kms is in Ethiopian territory.
The line will transmit 500kV of electric power through a double circuit line and will cost the two countries 536 million dollars. The major share, which amounts to 95pc, of the project will be covered by Sudan while the remaining share will be covered by Ethiopia. Ethiopia is constructing the Dam with an expense of four billion dollars. The Dam is currently 63pc complete.
Ethiopia will have a substation at the GERD, which will generate 6,000MW of electric energy, with an outgoing bay. Sudan will have substations in New Gebel and New Rabak.
The two countries have agreed on a binding arrangement that demands Ethiopia supplies electricity and that Sudan pays for it, regardless of whether or not the power is used in Sudan. Currently, Ethiopia is capable of generating 4,200MW of energy while it has a potential capacity to generate 45,000MW of hydropower, 10,000MW of geothermal and 1.3 million megawatts of wind power.
About 94pc of the total generating capacity of 4,200MW comes from the nine major rivers of the country that are suitable for hydroelectric power generation.
The feasibility study of the project was conducted by Centro Elettrotecnico Sperimentale Italiano (CESI) with 2.5 million Euros contributed by the two countries. For its part, Ethiopia will pay an additional tax value on the sum while Sudan will only pay the sum itself as the country exempts development projects from taxation.
CESI an Italian firm, which has a presence in 35 countries, employs 1,000 people and engages in technical consultancy, engineering and operational support, has won a smart grid project and a high-voltage, direct current project in Ethiopia and Kenya in 2013.
For the 17Km infrastructure development in Ethiopia’s territory, the government partnered with the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement. State Grid will develop the infrastructure on the Ethiopian side and will share in the revenue generated from the utilization of the line.
Established in 2002 as a state corporation, SGCC has previously signed a deal with the government of Ethiopia for the construction of the power transmission line of the GERD that has a total length of 1,136Kms for 1.5 billion dollars. SGCC is also contracted to execute the GDHA 500kV power transmission and transformation project, a transmission line extending from the GERD to Akaki, as well as the supporting power transmission and transformation project for urban light railways in Addis Abeba.
The deal that has been reached regarding the power purchase agreement and the negotiation on tariffs is handled by the countries’ respective Ministers of Water, Irrigation & Electricity, according to a source close to the case.
Sudan is also dealing with State Grid to undertake the development in its territory, according to the same source.
The first Ethio-Sudan Power Systems Interconnection, which was inaugurated in 2013, runs for 321Km, connecting Gonder, Shehedi, and Metema with Gedaref State in eastern Sudan. Constructed with 35 million dollars, it has a transmission capacity of 100MW of electric power.
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