he technology group Voith has signed a comprehensive service and operations consultancy contract for the Ethiopian hydropower plantGilgel Gibe II during the recent G20 Investment Summit in Berlin, Germany, in December 2019.
The agreement was signed by the Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity Dr Seleshi Bekele and Mark Claessen, Managing Director Voith Hydro East Africa in the attendance of Peter Altmaier, the German Federal Minister for Economics and Energy. The investor summit took place within the G20-Initiative Compact with Africa.
Twelve Heads of State of the African Compact partner countries as well as South Africa, acting as G20 partner of the initiative,were attending the summit. The central aspect of the two-year service and operations consultancy contract is the optimisation of the energy production of the hydropower plant Gilgel Gibe II with a current output of 420MW. Voith’s scope of supply comprises the modernisation of the maintenance systems, the implementation of digital solutions and the knowledge transfer through special training programs. All local activities are exclusively provided by Ethiopian Voith experts.
“Together with the plant operator EthiopianElectric Power we want to utilise the whole potential of the hydropower plantGilgel Gibel II. We succeed in this by reducing unplanned downtimes andfailures to a minimum,”
said Mark Claessen, Managing Director of Voith Hydro East Africa.
The hydropower plant Gilgel Gibel II is located about 300km south-east of the Ethiopian capital Addis Abeba. Voith supplied four Pelton turbines and generators as well as the entire mechanical and electrical equipment and also trained the plant operator’s staff. Before Gilgel Gibe II went into operation, only 15 per cent of Ethiopia’s villages were connected to the power grid.
Now, half of the rural settlements are supplied with power. In total, Ethiopian hydropower plants with Voith technology supply up to900,000 households in the country with clean and sustainable electricity.
With a hydropower potential of 45,000MW, Ethiopia has one of the largest hydropower resources on the African continent. Since 2011, the country supports the development of renewable energy and wants to become an energy hub for East Africa in the medium term.
The Gilgel Gibe II consists of a power station on the Omo River which is fed with water from a headrace tunnel and sluice gate on the Gilgel Gibe River. The headrace tunnel runs 26 km (16 mi) under the Fofa Mountain and at its end, it converts into a penstock with a 500 m (1,600 ft)drop. When the water reaches the power station, it powers four Pelton turbines that operate four 107 MW generators. Each turbine is 3.5 m (11 ft) in diameter.