Africa’s Biggest Hydropower Plant to Supply Power to Sudan

  • Transmission line will link Ethiopia dam with Sudanese capital
  • Two nations have ‘political agreement’ on boosting supply

Sudan will receive electricity from Ethiopia’s flagship dam via a transmission line once Africa’s biggest hydropower plant is complete, the two countries’ leaders said.

The 500 kilovolt line will connect the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile River with Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Tuesday.

Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir, addressing reporters alongside the premier in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, praised an existing road and telecommunications networks connecting the neighboring nations. He also mentioned plans for the countries to develop a “free economic zone,” without giving further details.

The GERD, scheduled for completion next year, is being built at an estimated cost of $6.4 billion, financed by government bonds, according to a June report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Designed to produce 6,000 megawatts of power, almost triple Ethiopia’s current generating capacity, it would rank among the world’s 10 biggest hydropower plants. A “technological upgrade” to the design earlier this year means the plant will generate as much as 6,450 megawatts, according to deputy government spokesman Zadig Abraha.

Al-Bashir said an agreement to link a railway from Ethiopia to Port Sudan, which includes a port dedicated to Ethiopia, is “awaiting funds.” Hailemariam said strategic studies for the line have been conducted and Ethiopia has already started to use the port for large consignments such as fertilizer.

A contract to upgrade the electricity supply hasn’t yet been signed and the cost hasn’t been determined “but there’s political agreement” between the two nations, Zadig said.

The state-owned Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation and its Sudanese counterpart are working on the technicalities, Zadig said by phone. There will be an international tender for engineering work after the contract is signed, he said.



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