Voith has announced it has signed a comprehensive service and operations consultancy contract for the Gilgel Gibe II hydropower plant in Ethiopia.

The agreement was signed during the G20 Investment Summit on November 19 in Berlin, Germany, by the Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity Dr. Seleshi Bekele and Mark Claessen, Managing Director Voith Hydro East Africa in the attendance of Peter Altmaier, the German Federal Minister for Economics and Energy.

The central aspect of the two-year service and operations consultancy contract is the optimization of the energy production of the 420MW project. Voith’s scope of supply comprises the modernization of the maintenance systems, implementation of digital solutions and knowledge transfer through special training programs. All local activities are exclusively provided by Ethiopian Voith experts.

“Together with the plant operator Ethiopian Electric Power we want to utilize the whole potential of the hydropower plant Gilgel Gibe II. We succeed in this by reducing unplanned downtimes and failures to a minimum,” said Mark Claessen. “A stable and sustainable energy supply is the foundation for social and economic development in Ethiopia and many other African countries.”

Gilgel Gibe II is located about 300km south-east of the Ethiopian capital Addis Abeba. Voith supplied four Pelton turbines and generators to the plant as well as the entire mechanical and electrical equipment and also trained the plant operator’s staff. Before Gilgel Gibe II went into operation, only 15%of Ethiopia’s villages were connected to the power grid. Now, half of the rural settlements are supplied with power.

With a hydropower potential of 45,000 megawatts, Ethiopia has one of the largest hydropower resources on the African continent. Since 2011, the country supports the development of renewable energy and wants to become an energy hub for East Africa in the medium term.