The Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) discloses that power transfer tests will start next week for the second pole of the Ethio-Kenya transmission line which officially began exporting energy to the bordering nation.
During the latest visit of top officials from Commercial Bank of Ethiopia and media at the Wolayta Sodo Converter Station, which is aligned with the Wolayta Sodo Substation which was erected about a decade ago to manage the power coming from Gibe III, Habtamu Girma, Operation Head of the Converter Station, explained that the first pole of the transmission line is fully functional and had begun power export a week ago.
The operations head explained that through the testing period, 65 MW of power have been exported, “And now we have successfully accomplished the test of up to 200MW.”
As per the project design, the two poles will each have a capacity to transfer 1,000 MW of power. As a result, as per the current plan, the export would be up to 250 MW, “Hence, the first pole has the capacity to accommodate the current export scheme.”
According to Habtamu, the second pole test will be undertaken as per the schedule, which is early this week.
The High-voltage direct current (HVDC) Converter Station which is located about 10 kilometers North West in the outskirt of Wolayta Sodo town is the EPC project carried out by Siemens AG of Germany at a cost of USD 214.5 million.
Besides converting energy from AC to DC, the state of the art facility has also additional features for the sector in Ethiopia, which includes the setup of ground electrode lines, installed about 22 km south of Wolayta Sodo town.
Tewodrose Ayalew, Project Manager of the HVDC Converter Station, told Capital that the ground electrode lines are an alternative means of transmission lines besides the two poles.
He said that the technology applied on the project is crucial to keeping power supply fluctuations at bay for the client in Kenya.
According to Kibrom Kahssay, Executive Officer of EEP for the Transmission and Substation Construction Project, the project is a big move for the sector in the country since it applies one of the rear technologies not only for Ethiopia but also for the continent.
“The technology applied on the current project targets to minimize power wastage and ensures the supply of sustainable power in addition to financial viability,” Kibrom explained.
Experts at the site said that the facility has a capacity to ensure uninterrupted and reliable transmission of power.
The Executive Officer said that as per the initial stage of the agreement between the two countries that will end in the coming three years, 200 MW energy will be exported to the neighboring country generating over USD 100 million per annum.
In the second three year phase, the export amount will be 400 MW which will double the revenue while in the future the facility will have a capacity to carry 2,000 MW. At this stage the country will generate USD one billion from the export of energy up to South Africa.
“Besides the financial benefit the project has a good implication for the regional integration and has socio-economic benefits for the region,” he added.
He said that at the current stage, the export is carried out on a trial level but it is operating successfully.
The transmission line, protection and data communication line (optical ground fiber) extended through the Ethiopian border is 440 kilometers long and has 994 towers. The transmission line project which is managed by the Chinese CET consumes about USD 120 million and has the capacity to regulate 500 KV.
As per the agreement between the two sides, Ethiopia would sale its electric power at a price of 6.5 US cents per one-kilo watt for the coming five years which will be revised after the end of the first five year period.
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