SGCC Shining in Africa
The fluttering red and green banners outside the power dispatching center of Awassa in central Ethiopia, numerous MV and LV lines extending to thousands of families along the streets, and the confident smile on the faces of Chinese and foreign staffs, all was expressing the excitement of August 27 (local time) when the Ethiopian urban MV and LV distribution project undertaken by State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) completed electrification of all MV circuits and LV areas and was officially grid-connected and put into operation.
In 2015, the Ethiopian Government announced the second "Growth and Transformation Plan" to build about 9,000km distribution lines and complete the construction and installation of 120,000km 230kV/132kV and 66kV grid lines by 2020. It is an important task of the Ethiopian governments at all levels to boost economy and improve livelihood by accelerating the transformation and upgrading of distribution network and solving the power supply problems like "bottlenecks", "low voltage" and "population with no power access".
Under such circumstance, the Ethiopian urban MV and LV distribution network transformation and upgrading project goes from the planning stage to the agenda of Sino-Africa power cooperation. The contract of project was signed in August 2015 and its construction officially commenced in February 2016. With the investment of World Bank, China Electric Power Equipment and Technology Co., Ltd. affiliated to SGCC (“CET”) is responsible for the project design, procurement, construction and commissioning under EPC mode. This project covers eight large- and medium-sized cities of Ethiopia, which are distributed within 200km to 800km of the capital city Addis Ababa. After the completion of the project, Ethiopian distribution network system will see the upgrading, information automation and intelligent power consumption, speeding up the progress from "power access to every village" to "power access to every household". It will be of great importance to mitigating the power shortage, promoting economy development and improving people's livelihood in the local community.
Abbe, an Ethiopian, is in charge of the construction team of Ethiopia-Kenya ±500kV DC transmission project. He has been working with Chinese construction team for nearly 6 years. Starting from an unskilled labor, he kept learning skills and finally had his own construction team to participate in the project. He said, "Since the Chinese Company started constructing the project, we have gotten more employment opportunities, greatly improving our living standards. SGCC has made a lot of contributions to Ethiopia. After the completion of the project, Ethiopia will export electric power to gain foreign exchanges. So thank you, SGCC."
In recent years, more and more Chinese companies came to Ethiopia for investment and construction, bringing faster change to the one of the most undeveloped nations and consolidating the friendship between Ethiopian people and Chinese people. During the construction, SGCC strongly impelled local employment by recruiting local workers and uplifting residents’ income. The responsible officer of the project said, “90% of on-site workers are local people. The project provides jobs to around 6,000 local people and creates totally CNY50 million taxes to Ethiopia. We grant the social insurance card to all local workers and pay the social insurance premiums for them. The local procurement of materials during construction period has greatly improved the local service level and economic vitality.”
It can be expected that the power towers and lines will form the first HVDC transnational distribution network on the "Ridge of Africa" that after completion, will not only benefit Kenya but also offers more stable and affordable electric power to other countries like Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda.
Apart from that, the Ethiopian GDHA500kV AC transmission and transformation project undertaken by SGCC has come on stream and entered the quality warranty period. As the world largest 500kV substation, the project boasts the highest SVC capacity and the state-of-art techniques of Africa, which is a milestone of the power construction in eastern Africa and a typical “made-in-China” example in Africa.
As a Chinese saying goes, "Sincerity is the basis for eternity". In addition to the perfect accomplishment of assignments, SGCC also actively helps improve local educational and medical environment and earns recognition. In October 2017, SGCC successfully organized the live working training in Chengdu, China and 20 excellent engineers of Egypt participated in the training and learned relevant skills and management know-how. The training shows the Sino-Egypt friendship and partnership, improves the live working skill level of Egyptian proprietors, pushes Chinese power transmission technology and standards going outside, and energizes the Egyptian power industry.
SGCC also makes use of its professional advantages of overseas engineering management and construction, actively explores overseas business and acts as the "Pioneer" and "Trailblazer" of national strategy in promoting the "Belt & Road" Initiative construction and Sino-Africa cooperation. According to relevant statistics, over the years CET has contracted 10+ grid projects in Africa including super projects and top technology projects, which popularize the Chinese technology and electric equipment to the world. Now SGCC has its extension to 25 African countries and contributes the Chinese power to African economic and social development in a sustainable way.