Background

Introduction

Ethiopia has a huge potential for hydro power development. It has a capacity over 50,000 MW. The country is sometimes characterized as the water tower of Africa. The huge surface water resources flow from highlands through steep ravines and gorges, making the country ideal for hydro power.

However, so far, the utilization of this potential is limited to 2,000 MW which is less than 4 percent of the potential. Despite the availability of such huge hydro power potential, access to electricity in Ethiopia is only about 46 percent at the present time. Most of the population in the country live in poverty and lack the basic neccessities considered standard in most countries. Use of traditional fuels such as fire wood still continues aggravating the soil erosion and forest destruction.

Effective development and management of hydro power is central to the quest for sustainable development and meaningful economic growth to the country’s industrial and agricultural development. Thus, the government has given due attention and commitment to the power sector and has committed itself to develop the electric power generating capacity of the country through harnessing the huge resource potential available in the country.

Accordingly, the government has embarked in energy production through construction of various hydro power plants. In this regard, the government pays due attention to the production hydro power in the country. The Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) highlights the significance of energy sector development as well as strategies and directions to robust the previously held efforts. It is clearly stated in the energy sector strategic plan that in the next five years, the energy sector development policy directions will be geared towards minimizing the gap between the demand and supply of electricity, efforts will be made to increase the current lower per capital consumption, and supply of power will be increased even to the extent of export.

As part of aforementioned plan, the government has also embarked in energy production through construction of huge hydro power plants. One of these plants is The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project, the biggest hydro electric power project in Africa with an installed capacity of 6,000 MW and 15,128 GW annual energy ensure the satisfaction of ever increasing domestic demand with reliable supply as well as supporting the country’s Universal Electrification Access Program. By exporting power through regional interconnection system, the country will significantly benefit from foreign currency earning through sale of electricity to the neighboring countries as well as contributing to the regional economic integration.

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