Gibe III Hydroelectric

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About Gibe III Hydroelectric


Gibe III Hydro-electric Power Project is located along the lower course of the Omo River, some 155 km downstream of Gilgel Gibe II Project Powerhouse. The Project site is located in the Southern Nations Nationalities & Peoples Regional State at a distance of about 470 km from Addis Ababa on road. The nearest big town in the area is Wolaita Sodo town which is located some 80 km east of the project site. The Project area is characterized by a deep gorge where the Omo River meanders. The altitude at the project site is in the range of 650 and 1650 m.a.s.l. The river water level at the project site ranges between 670 and 682 m.a.s.l. The average annual flow rate of the river is about 435 m3/sec.

Participating Organizations

Salini Costruttori S.p.A of Italy was entrusted to carry out the feasibility study in the Omo valley to assess the possibility of developing hydropower plant. The activities started in mid October 2005. By mid January 2006 Salini produced a Preliminary design document to be reviewed by the Client.

A memorandum of understanding has been signed between EEPCo and Salini, the Project Developer (PD) on February 2nd 2006 for the purpose of:

  • Ensuring the continuation of the study;
  • Producing necessary design documents for EEPCo*s review and acceptance;
  • Facilitating by the PD financing arrangements with potential donors and financing agencies;
  • Carry out other necessary and relevant activities.

It is envisaged that upon arranging the financing of the project, Salini could be considered as the prospective contractor for the project. The Electro Mechanical and Hydro Mechanical, Hydraulic Steel Structures works will be tendered out for international bidding by the EPC contractor on the basis of financing agencies requirements.

On July 19, 2006, EEPCo signed an Engineering Procurement (Turnkey) Contract with Salini Construttori S.p.A. of Italy for the Construction of the Gibe III Hydro-electric project.

On 22 April 2008 the Employer and the contractor signed a contract amendment due to the change in the scope of work at a total contract price of about Euro 1470( one billion four hundred seventy) million.

The quality control of the design and construction is carried out by a Joint Venture Consultant ELC Electrocosult & Coyne et Bellier is hired by the Client as Employer*s Representative.

Financing Organizations

Due to the huge investment requirement of the Project, during the negotiation of the contract with Salini, it was envisaged that, the Project could be financed by different financers. Accordingly, the following sources of finances were identified.

No.Type of workSources of Finance
1 Land acquisition and compensation EEPCo
2 Consultancy Services Phase I 每 Pre Construction EEPCo
3 Consultancy Service Phase II 每 during construction and Defect Liability Period EEPCo
4 EPC Contract
4.1 Civil Works


? National Bank of Ethiopia(NoE)

4.2 Electromechanical Works ? ICBC(Industrial and Commercial Bank of China)
4.3 Hydraulic Steel Structures ? ICBC(Industrial and Commercial Bank of China)
5 Administrative cost EEPCo

Study, Design, Construction and Supervising Organizations

Salini Construttori S.p.A. of Italy in collaboration with Studio Pietrangeli has carried out the Feasibility Study from the outset. Studio Pietrangeli acts as the EPC Contractor*s Engineer. In order to verify and confirm the acceptability of the project study and designs, EEPCo has signed a contract Agreement with a joint venture of Electro consult of Italy and Coyne Et Bellier of France to act as Employer*s Representative. Its responsibility was to carry out the review of the study and all design documents produced by the Project Developer. The JV Consultant has signed a MoU for the second phase of services. The major assignment of the Employer*s Representative includes supervision works, overall quality assurance and control of design, construction, erection, tests and commissioning works, and EPC Contract administration up to expiry of the defects liability period.

Supervising OrganizationsActivity
Ministry of Mines and Energy Responsible Government Body for the overall project implementation
Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation Project Executing Agency
J.V Electroconsult and Coyne Et Bellier Employer*s Representative
Salini Cosrtruttori S.P.A. Project Developer and EPC Contractor
Studio Pietrangeli Contractor*s Engineer
CESI,Agri-Consult and Mid Day Consult ESIA Consultant

Project Summary

1.Major Activities of the Project

The activities in the project implementation are grouped in to two phases, namely, the pre 每 construction and construction phases.

Phase I

The major activities performed by the Project Developer and the Employer*s Representative in the first phase of the project include:

Project Developer

  • Preparation of the Project Basic Design which mainly includes the performance of studies on Topography, Hydrology, Sedimentation, Geological investigations, Design Criteria, Drawings and Calculations, Implementation Planning, detailed cost estimate of the works, economical Analysis, Environmental and Social Impact Assessments and relevant mitigation measures to be implemented according to international Standards.
  • .
  • Preparation of the draft EPC Contract Documents to be signed

Employer*s Representative

  • Preparation of Employer*s Requirement.
  • Review of the proposal submitted by the Project Developer regarding Project design, Geological investigations, Hydrological analysis, Economical and financial analysis, Environmental Study, Review of the EPC Contract, Review of cost estimate and prepare independent update of the cost, assist EEPCo during contract negotiation.

Phase II

EPC Contractor

  • Preparation of Level 1 (Final) Design
  • Preparation of Level 2 (Manufacturing) Design
  • Successive construction of the various components of the Project

Employer*s Representative

  • Permanent control and supervision over the activities of the Contractor
  • Verifying that the design and construction activities comply with optimum technical standards and the Employer*s Requirement
  • Ensuring that, the project implementation is carried out within the allocated time frame.
  • Overall quality assurance and control of design
  • Construction, erection, tests and commissioning works
  • EPC Contract administration up to expiry of the defects liability period.

2.Major Components of the Project

The main components of the Project layout are summarized as follows:
  • 243 meter high Roller Compacted Concrete Dam(RCC)
  • An over flow crest Gated Spillway divided into nine bays controlled by hydraulically operated radial gates and designed to discharge 10,600 m3/s.
  • Three diversion tunnels of 13 and 7 meter internal diameters
  • An upstream pre-cofferdam and main cofferdam.
  • A downstream cofferdam.
  • 2 power waterways comprising intakes, power tunnels, surge shafts, penstocks and manifolds, each branching into 5 turbine inlets.
  • Powerhouse on the left abutment, housing 10 Francis groups with a power of 187 MW each for a total installed power of 1,870MW.
  • 10 transformers of 200 MVA installed at the back of the plant, converting the voltage from 15 kV to 400 kV.
  • Substation, equipped with a double bus bar scheme from where the 400kV transmission lines start.
  • In the power outlet, Intake structure with trash racks, stop logs and gates; Penstocks, Draft Tube with gates and stop logs are foreseen.

3.Technical Characteristics of the Project Components

General Features

The average annual flow of the Omo River is approximately 438 m3/s and the power plant factor amounts to 0.46, corresponding to a utilization of the units of approximately 11 hours/day. The maximum/ normal operating level of the reservoir is 892 m.a.s.l., while the normal tail water level is 681 m.a.s.l. (for the total design discharge of the 10 units). The 1st unit is scheduled to start trial running generation by September 15, 2013, while all project activities are planned to be accomplished up to December 30, 2014, including the commissioning of the ten generating units.

Dam & Reservoir

The Roller Compacted Concrete Dam has an approximate height of 243 m and 610m of crest length. The dam will create a reservoir with total storage capacity of 14,700 Million m3 (with Live Storage of 11,750 Million m3 and Dead Storage of 2,950 Million m3 ). The catchment area is about 34,150 km2.


A gated spillway is designed to discharge the following flows:

  • The design flood = 10,600 m3/s(10,000 years return period)
  • The exceptional flood = 18,000m3/s(probable maximum flood)

Diversion Tunnels Two diversion tunnels of 13 m diameter and a smaller 7 m diameter diversion tunnel, located on the right bank of the river. The river diversion will be effected by a conventional layout of tunnels and cofferdams and is designed to pass a flood of 5,200m3/s, which is approximately a 30 years return period flood event.
Cofferdams An upstream pre-cofferdam and cofferdam and a downstream cofferdam are envisaged. It will be useful to create a water head adequate to the large flow required to divert the water for the entire period of dam construction.
Power Tunnels 2 power waterways comprising intakes, power tunnels, surge shafts, penstocks and manifolds, each branching into 5 turbine inlets are envisaged.
Powerhouse A Powerhouse which will be located at the toe of the dam on the left abutment, housing 10 Francis groups with a power of 187 MW each for a total installed power of 1,870MW. 10 steps up transformers of 200 MVA will be installed at the back of the plant to convert the voltage from 15 kV to 400 kV. The powerhouse will have a maximum size of 250m X 37 m X 57m.
Switch Yard The switch yard is located on the left side of the river, on a plateau above the powerhouse at elevation 1010m.a.s.l., equipped with a double bus bar scheme from where the five three-phase 400kV transmission lines start.

4.Implementation Schedule

The project is scheduled to be fully operational on 30/12/2014. Different milestones are set to achieve the project goal as per schedule. Some of these milestones are the following:

Description of MilestoneScheduled Time
River Diversion in Tunnel No. 1 and 3 April 22,2009 and June 30,2008 (accomplished)
Starting of Impounding May 01,2013
Starting of commissioning the first unit September 15,2013
First unit starts Trial Running Generation September 15,2013
Completion of Wet tests/Final Commissioning for all units December,30,2014
Completion of all Activities December 30,2014

Project Output and Benefit

1.Physical Output

The power plant will generate on average 6,500 Gwh electrical energy per annum as and the firm production is estimated to be 6000 GWh. Its Plant Factor is worked out to be 0.46 similar to the two upstream plants. The installed capacity is 1870 MW having ten units each with the capacity of 187 MW. The generated power will be fed to the System through 400 kv transmission lines and the switchyard will have 10 units of 200 MVA transformers with five outgoing lines of 400 kv each.

2.Economic Effects and Benefit

The EPC contractor has thoroughly studied the economic impact and the possible benefits to be gained from implementing the Gibe III Hydroelectric Project. Accordingly, the Economic Analyses show that, the project is economically viable and will greatly contribute to the national economy. Power export opportunities to neighbouring countries could be realized from the implementation of this project.

Representative has also endorsed the economic benefits of the project. Moreover, by implementing this project the following benefits could be harnessed.
  • Enhanced electric power generation capability;
  • Complete satisfaction of the countries power demand;
  • Reliability in the power supply;
  • Foreign currency earning through selling of power to the international market;
  • Meaningful economic growth to the country*s industrial development.

Resource Requirements

1.Technical Requirements

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with the Project Developer for expediting the Pre-Construction activities as stipulated in section 5 above. More over a contract agreement was signed between EEPCo and the JV consultant, ELC- Electro consult & Coyne Et Bellier in order to prepare Employer*s Requirement, review of the proposal submitted by the Project Developer regarding Project design, Geological investigations, Hydrological analysis, Economical and financial analysis, Environmental Study, Review of the EPC Contract, Review of cost estimate and prepare independent update of the cost, assist EEPCo during contract negotiation.

An EPC/Turnkey Contract Agreement has been signed with SALINI COSTRUTTORI S.p.A of Italy for the construction of the Project on July 19th, 2006 followed by a MoU with the JV consultant, ELC Electroconsult & Coyne Et Bellier on Nov 7, 2006 for provision of complete quality control and supervision services. The main contract has been signed with Employer representative for construction Management and Supervision on April 2007.

2.Financial Requirements

The EPC Contract amounts to Euro 1,470 million. For the Electro mechanical works 85 % in Euro and 15 % in Birr; and for Civil Works, 65% in Euro and 35% in Birr shall be paid to the Contractor. Payments for the Phase I consultancy service have been effected and amounts to Euro 0.55 Million and Birr 0.168 Million.

For the main consultancy service during the construction and defect liability periods, a contract agreement has been signed with a Joint Venture of ELC Electro consult and Coyne et Bellier Consultant at a cost of Euro 20.9 Million and Birr 17.8 Million. A running cost for the Project Coordination office is estimated to be Birr 20 Million for the period of the project. A panel of Experts engaged to ensure absolute guarantee on the implementation of the project.

3.Financial Plan & Possible Financial Sources

EEPCo is not in a position to solely finance the Gibe III Hydroelectric Project Construction cost, which is very huge, thus, all efforts underway both from Employer and contractor to get fund from potential donors.

Total Project construction cost - Euro 1,470 Million

Local Currency Component of - Euro 448 M (Amount of LC Disbursed to date - ?196.33 M))

Foreign Currency Component of - Euro 1022 M (Amount of FC Disbursed to date- ? 261.75M)

AfDB (Electro mechanical Equipment) 250
AfDB (Electro mechanical Equipment) 100
Government of Italy (civil Works) 250
AfDB(Private Window) 100
Sub 每 Total 700

EEPCo/National Bank of Ethiopia (Amount of FC Disbursed to date)

Local Currency Disbursed to date


Total 911
Grant/Concessional Loan/Government Equity/Commercial Loan 111
Foreign Currency Grand Total 1022 uro

Project Impacts


Large water bodies generally influence the climate of their surroundings. Accordingly, the large reservoir at Gibe III may have some effects on temperature and humidity. Evaporation from the surface of the reservoir will replace the present evapotranspiration from the soil of the area to be covered by the reservoir. At the edge of the reservoir, daily temperatures could fall 2 to 4 ∼C and relative humidity could increase by 10 to 15%.

2.Agriculture and Fishery

According to the EIA report, fishing activities on the Omo River is very scares due to lack of access to suitable fishing grounds and the food habit of the rural community, which does not favor fish consumption. Thus, the impact of the project on fishing is believed to be very minimal. On the other hand, the blockage of the river by the dam is expected to create a large reservoir about 200 km2 at about 655 m.a.s.l. The artificial lake will create favorable conditions for various fish species, which will support commercial fishery industry.

3.Socio 每 Economic Impacts

Due to the steepness of the area, the banks of the Omo River and the land below 1,300 m.a.s.l are not cultivated. However, realization of the Gibe III scheme will have varying degree of adverse direct impacts. About 400 Households will lose their houses and other agricultural assets. An estimated woodland and grassland area of about 26,000 hectare that is a primary source of feed for grazing livestock will be flooded by the reservoir impoundment. A stretch of the all weather Chida-Sodo Road and the steel bridge on the Omo River will be submerged by the reservoir. It is planned to realign the road section downstream of the dam.

4.Public and Environmental Health Factors

Risk of increasing the incidence of social and communicable diseases due to influx of construction workers, contracting malaria, risk of injury from traffic accidents and blasting activities are some of the concerns at the project site. Transmission of HIV/AIDS is the major potential adverse health and social risk that is expected to increase from time to time.

5.Environmental Studies

These ESIA*s for the proposed Gibe III hydroelectric project has been carried out within the framework of Local, National and International Environmental regulations. The legislative framework applicable to the proposed project is governed by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) and International Financing Institutions who will be involved in this project including the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and other potential Financiers. The National and International regulations/ conventions/ standards applicable to the construction and operation of the Gibe III hydroelectric project have been adopted in the preparation of the ESIA Documents.

6.The Gender Issue

Implementation of the Gibe III Hydroelectric project and the power production afterwards will contribute to improve the quality of life of women, as they are culturally ※responsible§ for collecting fuel wood for household uses. During construction, the project creates a job opportunity for at least 3,000 men and women.