Gilgel Gibe II to start operation next monthAugust 2nd, 2009
The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) is planning to open the first unit of the Gilgel Gibe II in the first week of September.
A senior official with EEPCo disclosed that work on the project was being expedited in order to meet the targeted commissioning date. The official said the contractors and all the parties involved in the project were exerting an out most effort to finalize work on the project.
The 420 MW Gibe II hydro-power project was launched in June 2004 with an out lay of 5.2 billion birr. The Italian government provided 220 million euros loan and the European Investment Bank extended 50 million euros. The project site is 255 km south-west of Addis Ababa. The idea of the project was conceived at the inauguration of the Gibe I in February 2004.
After inaugurating the 184 MW Gibe I hydro power plant in 2004, the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation launched the construction of Gibe II on Gibe river. The power project lies on an ever green mountain and gorge in the Sokoru locality found between the Oromia and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Regional States.
The very idea of the project is to take the water that comes out of Gibe I power house and to divert the natural course of the river and take to Gibe II power house through a 25.8 km long tunnel. The Gibe II would use the water that come from Gibe I so there is no need to build another dam. The water head difference is 490 meters.
The water that comes out of the tunnel would run down a hill in two big pipes into a power house where there are four turbines, each having a capacity to generate 105 MW.
An agreement has been signed between EEPCo and the contractor, Salini Costruttori S.P.A, the Italian construction company, that built Gibe one dam, in April 2004 for all the civil work of Gibe II. Work on the project commence in June 2004. Under Salini, there are three specialist companies, namely SELI, an Italian company, Voith Siemens, German company, and ATB, an Italian company. SELI has been drilling and building the tunnel and Voith Siemens has been undertaking the hydro mechanical work.
The tunnel drilling work was completed in May and now the contractor is clearing the tunnel to make it ready for the commissioning. Gibe II is believed to meet the power deficit once it started running with its full capacity.