Hydropower (HP) on a massive scale

Published: December 9, 2013

GIBE-III tunnel works © Tractebel Engineering France

 

Living up to its name in every way; the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Project (GERDP) is Ethiopia’s second huge dam project under construction to benefit from the dam and HPP engineering expertise of Tractebel Engineering (France).

AFRICA’S BIGGEST HPP

Ethiopia, home to 92 million citizens and hub of the African Union, is a country determined to grow its economy and national wealth.  With HP forming the backbone of the country’s energy sector development strategy, the scale of EEPCo’s (Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation) 6,000 MW GERDP HPP shows they mean business. Read more

VALUE ADDED OWNER’S ENGINEERING

The scale of the GERDP doesn’t create technical challenges so much define a need for first-class organisation and coordination of the project; requiring special attention to detail and accuracy. Read more

GIBE III 1870 MW HPP

Currently over 60% complete, GIBE III is another monumental HPP dam rising rapidly as part of Ethiopia’s ambitious HP strategy. Read more


  • GERDP Main site - view from right bank © Tractebel Engineering France
  • GERDP Main site - view from left bank © Tractebel Engineering France
  • GERDP Main site - view from right bank © Tractebel Engineering France

 

AFRICA’S BIGGEST HPP

Ethiopia, home to 92 million citizens and hub of the African Union, is a country determined to grow its economy and national wealth. With HP forming the backbone of the country’s energy sector development strategy, the scale of EEPCo’s (Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation) 6,000 MW GERDP HPP shows they mean business.

A PROJECT OF NATIONAL PRIDE
Tapping its “White Oil” water resources originating in the Ethiopian Highlands, HP development is a high priority for the Ethiopian Government. Being built on Ethiopia’s lowest stretch of the Blue Nile River, the GERDP is fully funded by the Ethiopians themselves; through taxes and selling government bonds for the project. This, despite the GERDP’s very remote location 800 km from Addis Ababa, makes it a highly visible project – as does its size!

THE GRAND ETHIOPIAN RENAISSANCE DAM HPP KEY FEATURES:

  • A main RCC (roller compacted concrete) gravity dam 150 m – 170 m high and 1.8 km long with a volume of 10.5 million m3.
  • A second, asphalt-faced rockfill saddle dam closing off the left side of the wide, flat reservoir basin is 50 m high and 5.2 km long with a volume of 17 million m3.
  • 3 spillway systems: a main gated spillway on the left bank (maximum flow 14,700 m3/s); an auxiliary, ungated spillway in the main dam wall (maximum flow 3,450 m3/s); an emergency, ungated spillway in the saddle dam (maximum flow 1.200 m3/s).
  • The reservoir area covers approximately 1,800 km2 and will hold 74 billion m3 water (at fullest level) – it is expected to take about 7 years to fill…
  • 2 outdoor powerhouses totalling 6,000 MW, on the right bank (3,750 MW) and on the left bank (2,250 MW).
  • A 500 kV substation and 250 km transmission lines.
  • EPC contract milestones; early power generation mid 2014; full completion of the works 2017.

GERDP Laying of the 1st stone © Tractebel Engineering France

VALUE ADDED OWNER’S ENGINEERING

The scale of the GERDP doesn’t create technical challenges so much define a need for first-class organisation and coordination of the project; requiring special attention to detail and accuracy.

MANAGING A TRI-PARTY EPC AGREEMENT

EEPCo (Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation) has signed 2 EPC contracts for the works;

  • the first for civil works with Italian company SALINI (EPC on the GIBE III project, SALINI put forward the initial GERD concept proposal in 2010);
  • the second EPC contract for the electromechanical equipment and hydraulic steel structures is with Ethiopian company METEC.

Currently leading the OE mission in joint venture with Italian Electroconsult (ELC), Tractebel Engineering’s experience is vital to the management of this 3-way contract Ongoing design review, supervision of works, quality assurance of civil works, equipment factory inspections and more, is also provided by a high-level OE team of over 12 key people, as well as numerous engineers, working on and off site.

SPECIALISED STUDIES
Other tasks requiring expert attention (and specialist hydraulic modelling) will include a Dam Break Analysis and Emergency Preparedness Plan. While the solution is of course to ensure the dam will not “break”, mandatory study of the hypothetical event and downstream consequences is important due to the flat geography between the GERDP and Khartoum, Sudan’s main city. Interestingly, first studies show that the GERDP will in fact help protect flood-prone Khartoum from regular monsoon season flooding.

UNDER THE EYES OF INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS
With Sudan standing to gain from the GERDP thanks to regulated river flow benefiting their downstream HPP capacity and irrigation potential; and Egypt questioning water rights; Ethiopia has involved a panel of 10 experts (representatives from each of the 3 countries and 4 international experts in water resources, dam engineering, socioeconomic and environmental fields) to review the project at every stage. The OE team support EEPCo in terms of explaining design choices and technical elements of the project.

“The GERDP receives a lot of attention from the press in and outside of the country which puts a lot of pressure on everyone; but that doesn’t change our job which is to ensure delivery of the best quality project.” Jean-Louis Cervetti – JV Project Manager, Tractebel Engineering France


  • GIBE III HPP - site © Tractebel Engineering France
  • GIBE III HPP - site in April 2013 © Tractebel Engineering France
  • GIBE III HPP - dam works © Tractebel Engineering France
  • GIBE III HPP - dam works © Tractebel Engineering France
  • GIBE III HPP - tunnel works February 2013 © Tractebel Engineering France
  • GIBE III HPP - tunnel works February 2013 © Tractebel Engineering France
  • GIBE III HPP © Tractebel Engineering France

 

GIBE III 1870 MW HPP

Currently over 60% complete, GIBE III is another monumental HPP dam rising rapidly as part of Ethiopia’s ambitious HP strategy.

A MAJOR UNDERTAKING
Begun in 2006, 300 km south of Addis Ababa and spanning a section of the Omo River gorge, GIBE III is destined to be one of the highest RCC dams in the world with the 4th largest installed HP capacity in Africa. The project will double Ethiopia’s current generation capacity and is expected to bring great socio-economic benefits; feeding the Ethiopian grid and making power exports to neighbouring States viable.

With a third of the dam already cast and assembling the first power house units begun, 7,500 people are now working on site, accelerating construction to allow reservoir filling to begin mid 2014, with first power generation due by the end of the year.

GIBE III AT A GLANCE:

  • Height close to 250 m, crest 610 m
  • Volume 6.1 million m3
  • Reservoir almost 15 billion m3 – 150 km long, but only about 1.5 km wide.
  • 1,800 MWe generate 6,500 GWh/year

JOINT EFFORT
Tractebel Engineering France in joint venture with Italian Electroconsult (ELC) has the full OE mission for design review and site supervision for EEPCo. Italian company SALINI is the civil works EPC contractor and Chinese company Dongfang is responsible for mechanical and electrical equipment.

The OE team has 15 people permanently on-site. Tractebel Engineering design experts have also made several quality inspection missions to China to verify the equipment designs.

“Our experience engineering large dam and hydro projects has been critical to the review of dam and equipment designs, contribution of geological and logistics advice, as well as construction schedule optimisations. Building good working relationships with EEPCo and the EPCs have also been key to our recommendations being respected.” Edouard Mine – GIBE III HPP – JV Deputy Project Manager, Tractebel Engineering France

CLEAR VALUE

“The GERDP receives a lot of attention from the press in and outside of the country which puts a lot of pressure on everyone; but that doesn’t change our job which is to ensure delivery of the best quality project.” Jean-Louis Cervetti – JV GERD Project Manager

GLOBAL EXPERTISE

For over 60 years Tractebel Engineering experts have helped to deliver many of the world’s most complex and daring dam and HPP projects:  Visit www.tractebel–engineering-gdfsuez.com to view our references.

More information

Jean-Louis Cervetti – JV Project Manager – Dams & Hydropower, Tractebel Engineering (France)
Sergio Camilletti – Project Coordinator – Dams & Hydropower, Tractebel Engineering (France)
Edouard Mine – GIBE III HPP – JV Deputy Project Manager, Tractebel Engineering (France)

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