Saturday, 26 October 2013

Ashegoda Wind-Farm Project to launch

The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) has announced that the Ashegoda Wind-Farm, the largest wind-farm in Africa, will be inaugurated on Saturday 26th October 2013.

Ashegoda has a capacity of 120MW and will produce about 400 million KWh a year. The project was completed in 36 months and devised to be executed in phases.
All units have now been constructed and are already providing energy to the National Grid. So far, Ashegoda has produced 90 Million KWh since its commissioning started, in stages, one year ago with the earlier commissioned units.

The Wind-Farm is located in the Quiha suburbs, 18 kilometres from Mekelle, the capital of Tigray regional state, in the north of Ethiopia.

Lahmeyer International of Germany carried out a feasibility study for the project seven years ago and supervised the project’s execution along with young Ethiopian engineers. The project has provided very important experience-sharing for Ethiopia’s national companies, who have been involved in the construction of civil works such as geotechnical investigations, roads, turbine foundations, sub-station erection and electro-mechanical erection works.

The project was implemented through an international competitive bidding process - EEPCo issued a bid, which included financing arrangements, and the tender was won by French company Vergnet Groupe who signed a contract with EEPCO in October 2008. The work commenced a year later after the necessary financing packages had been finalised.

The project was financed by BNP Paribas of France, the French Development Agency (ADF) and the balance, essentially the local portion, by EEPCO.

The first phase of the project was constructed using Vergnet turbines, producing 30 MW, each turbine producing 1 MW. Phases II and III were constructed with 54 Alstom-supplied turbines, with each unit producing 1.67 MW. Phase II and Phase III have a combined total of 90 MW.

The project was the first of its kind in Ethiopia when it launched in October 2009. However, in the meantime, construction began on two smaller wind-farms Adama I and II, with a capacity of 51 MW each. They were constructed near Adama town (one hour’s drive south east of Addis Ababa) and were completed in October 2011 and 2012 respectively.

The Ashegoda project included construction of access roads and maintenance roads for future operations. In addition, a new sub-station with its own control system has been constructed. The sub-station has a central control system which interfaces with the EEPCo Power Grid system.

The completion of the Ashegoda power project has constituted a great achievement for EEPCO and its staff who have been working relentlessly on site to ensure a timely completion.

The CEO of the EEPCo, Mr Meheret Debebe, and high-level government officials will be available for interview on the 26th.