The construction of the Tis Abay II hydro power project in Ethiopia, which is considered to be a key element in Ethiopia’s power development programme, is nearing completion. It is hoped that the US$63M project, which is funded by the Ethiopian government, will help the country meet its 10-12% annual growth in electricity demand and support the expanding economy. A lack of rain which has failed to fill existing dams in a country where consecutive droughts have caused widespread crop failures, is also pushing completion of the project.

Tis Abay II is located near Lake Tana in the northwest of Ethiopia. It includes a 2km power canal, two 140m penstocks and a power house. Substations at Tis Abay and Bahir Dar are linked to the grid by a 28km, 132kV transmission line. The plant has two Francis units with a total capacity of 72MW at a head of 53.5m. Spiral case installation has been completed and installation of the turbine generators is about to begin.

Construction work has already been completed at the Chara-Chara weir site, approximately 30km upstream form Tis Abay, on the Lake Tana outlet. The weir provides some storage regulation in the lake which, at 5584km2, is the largest in the country.

Engineering services for Tis Abay are being provided by an international joint venture of PB Power and Howard Humphreys & Partners of the UK, with coyne-et-bellier of France. The joint venture was responsible for the feasibility study, tender design and preparation of tender documents for construction, and is now supervising construction design and works.

The contractors were req- uired to work to an accelerated construction programme for completion of the project in 24 months. Despite disruption due to war with Eritrea, the project should be completed early in 2001.