Ethiopia - On May 11, 2018 technology group Voith opened its new East Africa Hub in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa which will serve to highlight its active contribution to the development of electricity generation from hydropower in East Africa.
With its East Africa Hub now up and running Voith will be planning and coordinating projects in nine countries in the east of the continent from this new facility.
The opening ceremony was attended by Ethiopia's State Minister of Water, irrigation and Electricity Dr. Frehiwot Woldehanna, German ambassador to Ethiopia Brita Wagener, Uwe Wehnhardt, CEO of Voith Hydro and Member of the Corporate Management Board, and numerous guests from the business and political arenas.
In his opening address, Uwe Wehnhardt emphasized the enormous potential of hydropower in the region.
“Voith has been supporting the development of clean energy generation in Africa since the 1940s. We are reinforcing this commitment through the opening of our facility in Addis Ababa,” said Uwe Wehnhardt. “Voith will work with customers and investors to continue to play an active role in developing a sustainable energy supply in Africa. In this context, training measures are an important element for Voith and will in future also be coordinated from Addis Ababa. The purpose of the training is to pass on the company's extensive expertise in hydropower to local experts.”
Wehnhardt also added that Voith sees its role in the region not only as a supplier of cutting-edge hydropower technology but also as a full partner for developing energy infrastructure.
Explaining why Voith decided to locate its East Africa Hub in Ethiopia Wehnhardt said, “Good market conditions and the proximity to our customers and partners, as well as the hydropower market potential and impressive economic development in recent years make Ethiopia an ideal base for our new site.”
Ethiopia has a hydropower potential of 45,000 MW and since 2011 the country has been advancing the development of renewable energies and aims to be the energy hub for East Africa in the medium term.
“Due to the longstanding history of hydropower projects in Ethiopia there are a large number of well-trained experts in the country. Some of these experts are now supporting us in our new East Africa Hub,” added Wehnhardt.
Ethiopian already has a number of hydropower plants using Voith technology and supplying up to 900,000 households in the country with clean, sustainable electricity and ensuring half of all rural communities are connected to the grid.
More hydropower projects are currently under construction in Ethiopia and these will increase installed hydropower capacity by a further 1,500 MW and also bring Voith's share of electricity generation from hydropower to around nine percent of the country's entire power generation.
Voith is also playing a leading role in hydropower projects in other East African countries including Kenya where the company is currently upgrading the small Wanjii power plant by replacing the turbines, generators, control technology and all electrical and mechanical equipment. This will increase the capacity of the power plant by around 20 percent when the upgrade is completed by mid-2019.