This article was published in the Embassy's business enclosure to the Capital 16 May. Find more articles from the enclosure here.
Hydroelectric power has been the most important resource in creating the modern Norway. Figures from the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate show that an incredible 99 percent of all electricity in Norway is produced from hydropower with an average annual production capacity of about 125 TWh (2005). This is achieved through 620 power plants spread along the whole country and utilisation of approximately 60% of Norway’s accessible hydropower potential. Norway is the world’s fifth largest producer of hydropower and the largest producer in Europe.
Waterfall, Strynefjell. Photo: Petter Foss/MFA Norway
The Norwegian hydropower industry has a long tradition and has developed competence that covers all aspects of a hydropower project, from planning and projecting to delivery and installation of technical equipment. In addition, the authorities have a well developed expertise in regulating and administering resources and power markets. Through an open electric market, integrated with the other Nordic countries, export and import is routine over the direct power links to Sweden, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands.
As a result of the high percentage of utilized hydropower potential in Norway, the Norwegian supplier industry is increasingly looking abroad and more particularly in countries such as Ethiopia. Through the program “Clean Energy for Development”, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation has substantially increased its funding for renewable energy in developing countries, specifically targeting areas that Norwegian companies have special competence in such as Hydropower.
Norway recognizes the striking correlation between hydropower development and economic growth and the role that this plays in eradicating poverty. Not only will the economic benefit be visible on a national level but local communities often benefit indirectly from industries that rise around the hydropower plants.
Norway’s comparative advantage in hydro power development and Ethiopia’s amazing hydropower potential means that this is one of the embassy’s focus areas of development collaboration. In the period 2003-2007, the Norwegian government has financed pre-feasibility and feasibility studies of Hydropower development at Karadobi and Baro respectively. Currently, Norway is continuing its support in the energy sector by entering into agreement with the Ministry of Water Resources as the only donor in the feasibility studies of the Mandaya and Beko Abo Hydropower projects each with an estimated capacity of 2000 MW and 2100 MW respectively. Both dams will be among the world’s 10 highest dams, if developed.
“Developing hydropower resource is crucial to underpin Ethiopia’s overall economic development and industrialization effort and make the development sustainable,” Ambassador Jens-Petter Kjemprud said during the signing ceremony.
Financing of the feasibility studies is estimated to 135.3 Million NOK . while the Technical Assistance to ENTRO to Facilitate Regional Consultation and Information Sharing regarding the same Studies is 6 Million.. Both Mandaya and Beko-Abo project sites are on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia, North of Addis Abeba. Mandaya dam site is located on the Blue Nile (Abay) River, 6.5 km upstream of its confluence with the Gember River, and 19 km downstream of the Abbay/Didessa confluence. The Beko Abo site is located approximately 2 km upstream of the bridge over the Abay River on the road between Bure and Nekemt.
"This contract verifies that Norwegian companies have a good reputation and a strong position in the international hydropower market, and that we represent a group of solid partners. The project also provides us with the opportunity to utilize our expertise to promote sustainable development and renewable energy in developing countries,“ says Ove Rusten, CEO of Norplan.
The consortium that will be undertaking these feasibility studies consists of the two Norwegian companies Norplan (Multiconsult) and Norconsult, the French company Electricite de France (EDF) and the British company Scott Wilson. The consortium will be led by Norplan (Multiconsult) and will benefit from the partners' extensive international experience in hydropower, combined with local expertise.