Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chemoga-Yeda hydro power plant delayed

The construction of Chemoga-Yeda hydro power plant that is funded by Chinese EXIM bank is sluggish due to lack of finances from the bank.
The Chemoga Yeda project, on the outskirts of Debre Markos, 299Km north of Addis Ababa in the Amhara Regional State, is expected to cost 555 million dollars. It will be carried out in two stages and expected to generate 278mw.
However the project, officially awarded to Sinohydro Corporation, a Chinese firm, two years ago in September 2009 and expected to end in 2013 is not going according to the contract agreement and Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation’s (EEPCo) expectation.
EEPCo officials said that the delay of finance from EXIM bank is the main reason for the delay of the project. The Chemoga-Yeda River is the main factor for the delay of the finance.
“Chemoga-Yeda River is one of the tributaries for Abay (Blue Nile) River, due to that downstream countries are not delighted and have been lobbying the financer to delay the fund,” officials at EEPCo told Capital.
“Though the river contributes to the Abay, its contribution does not reach one percent of the total due to that, we do not need to deal with others or suspend the project because of external interference,” officials said.
According to sources at the corporation, currently a green light has come from the Chinese to realize the expected amount based on the deal. “We expect that in the near future the project will continue at full capacity,” EEPCo officials said. According to the officials, the Chinese bank agreed to release the funds once they understood what a small contribution the river makes for Abay. Ethiopian officials were working vigorously to convince bank officials and Chinese government to honour the previous deal.
The project is expected to be completed in four years and nine months, according to the plan, and will involve the construction of five dams on the Chemoga, Yeda, Sens, Getla and Bogena rivers. The reservoirs of these dams will be interconnected and the project is expected to generate 278mw.
Ethiopia contributes over 85 percent of the total Nile River, which flows to Mediterranean Sea. The downstream countries (Egypt and Sudan) have been highly opposed Ethiopian dam and irrigation projects that are based on the Nile River. 
EEPCo the sole electric supplier and manager of power plants in the country is undertaking the construction of different hydropower plants in the country in different river basins including Nile Basin. In addition it has planned to erect additional power plants in the basin of the Abay that takes over half of the country’s potential, which is 45,000mw of hydropower.