Monday, November 12, 2012

Ethiopia on track to complete first mega-dams by 2015-minister

(ADDIS ABABA, Nov 12 (Reuters)--Ethiopia's energy minister played down concerns on Monday about how it would finance the first of an array of mega-dams due to revolutionise east African power markets, saying it was on track to have three plants on line by 2015.

The Horn of Africa country has laid out plans to invest more than $12 billion in harnassing the rivers that run through its rugged highlands to generate more than 40,000 MW of hydropower by 2035, making it Africa's leading power exporter.

Energy chief Alemayehu Tegenu said the plan's centerpiece - the $4.1 billion-Grand Renaissance Dam along the Nile River in the western Benishangul-Gumuz region - was on course to be completed on time in 2015.

Two other smaller dams should also come on line by that point, he said, generating a total of more than 8,000 megawatts of power at full capacity. "Everything is going according to plan. It (the Grand Renaissance) is on good status," Tegenu told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of an energy conference in Addis Ababa.

"So far we have achieved 13 percent of the total construction." The dam - Africa's largest - will generate 6,000 MW at full capacity. It is just the latest of a series of ambitious infrastructure projects launched by Ethiopia following years of solid economic growth. The government says funding will come from both domestic and foreign sources. Read more from Reuters »

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