ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese-funded Aysha II wind power project in eastern Ethiopia has begun power generation after its 16 wind turbines became operational, an official of state-owned Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) has said.
"Out of the 32 turbines installed at Aysha II wind power project, 16 are fully operational, producing 32 Giga Watt Hours (GWh) of electricity from September to December," said Moges Mekonnen, communication director of the EEP, in a recent interview with Xinhua.
The ongoing Aysha II wind power project will feature 48 turbines with a total generating capacity of 120 megawatts (MW). It is located in the Shenelle district of the Sitti zone of the country's Somali region, near the Ethiopia-Djibouti border, some 700 km east of the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.
The construction of the Aysha II was launched in June 2017 after the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim Bank) approved the financing of 85 percent of the 257.3-million-U.S.-dollar project. The balance is covered by the national coffer.
"When we evaluate the generating capacity of the project over the last nearly four months, the Aysha wind farm stands at better production capacity compared to previously built wind power plants in Ethiopia," said Mekonnen.
According to the communication director, China's Dongfang Electric Corporation, which is undertaking the Aysha II wind power project, has introduced new technologies and designs that have never been used in the first three wind-farm projects in the country.
"Each windmill at the Aysha II wind power project has a generating capacity of 2.5 MW at maximum, which is at least 1 MW higher than the generating capacity of each windmill at other wind farms in the country," said Mekonnen.
The communication director attributed the higher power generating capacity from each turbine to the advanced design and new technologies introduced by the contractor and the higher wind speed per second available at the project site.
Since it became operational, the Aysha wind farm has produced 32 GWh and contributed to the national grid using the 16 turbines, he said.
According to data obtained from the EEP, Ethiopia is currently generating more than 350 MW of electricity from three different wind farms.
The Adama I Wind Farm generates 51 MW; Adama II and Ashegoda wind farms each generate 153 megawatts. Chinese contractors, HydroChina Corporation and China Geo-Engineering Corporation Overseas together built the Adama I and II wind power plants.
Regarding the increasing engagement of Chinese companies in Ethiopia's renewable energy development, Mekonnen said Chinese companies are unique and helpful in that they pursue a specific model of investment characterized by financing domestic projects and unfettered transferring of technical knowledge to local experts. ■