Climate change, water scarcity jeopardize exports, start rations
The Ministry of Water, Electricity and Irrigation (MoWEI) on Friday announced that it has been facing a critical water shortage at a power generation dam, forcing it to proportionally decrease and quit power exports and start power shedding nationwide. The country is experiencing a power shortage of 426 MW.
Briefing reporters about electric power shedding, Sileshi Bekele Minister of MoWEI said that the decline in the amount of water in the power generating dam is causing trouble for Ethiopia’s power export and power distribution nationwide. Ethiopia earns a total of 82 USD from power exports.
Climate change is affecting the eastern and south eastern part of the country. Uneven distribution of rain and drought is negatively impacting the Gibe 3 power dam which has a capacity of generating 1870 MW as the water in the reservoir currently drops by 15 meters compared to last year’s 834 meter amount.
The minister said it is waiting for the rainy season and added that the disparity has occurred between demand and supply of electric power due to the ever increasing demand related to the conducive investment opportunities.
Currently the country needs 2,500 MW of power, as a result of this, power shedding has already started. It was going on for ten days without being disclosed to the public before and will continue for the coming two or three months.
“Power export to Djibouti has been minimized proportionally and we have totally stopped exporting to Sudan for technical reasons,” Sileshi adds.
Cement factories have been forced to operate only for 15 days per month, metal manufacturing companies will get 24 hour shifts and stone crushing plants will be banned to increase power which the ministry believes will improve during the upcoming rainy season.
Food processing manufactures including bottled water, pharmaceutical factories and export oriented companies and higher educational institutions are exempted from power shedding.
Households will get five hours a day in three shifts assuming electricity is a basic need allowing them to perform their task within that five given hours.
According to the minister, Ethiopia has connected 44 percent of the population to electricity sources in which 33 percent are from grid and 11 percent off-grid services.
The Ethiopia government hopes to increase the electricity generation capacity from the current 4,300 MW to 17,300 MW by 2020, utilizing hydro, wind, geothermal, solar and biomass energy sources.