The end of sporadic power supply in Eritrea is on the horizon as the extension and construction programs at the Hirgigo thermal power plant is almost complete.
According to African Energy Intelligence sources, Hirgigo power plant will go fully operational later this year.
The country have seen multiple power cuts in the last couple of years mainly due to shortfalls in the supply. The current output at Hirgigo, the biggest plant in the country, and that of Belaza (17MW) accounts for 90% of all supply in Eritrea; and together lose 18% of the power they generate.
Hirgigo power plant was under an extensive expansion program since the beginning of last year in order to upgrade its current output capacity from 84 MW to 132 MW.
The Eritrean Electric Corporation (EEC) initially awarded the contract in 2012 to Shanghai Corporation for Foreign Economic and Technological Cooperation (SFECO). However, a new contract signed earlier this year with Qingdaohaixi Marine Diesel (QMD) replaced it altogether.
Accordingly, QMD and EPC contractor Shanghai Marine Diesel Engine Research Institute have agreed to supply two MAN B&W 12K60MC-S, low-Speed Diesel Engines that run on liquid fuel.
Another Chinese firm Shanghai Electric Machinery secured a license from Germany’s MAN to manufacture the generators for the engines.
When the two new engines enter into operation soon, it will account for approximately 73% of Eritrea’s total power supply.
Although it lost the deal, SFECO played a decisive role in bringing Exim Bank of China into the project to finance the supply of generators.
SCFECO already have secured orders worth $340+ million on its books in Eritrea. It has great interest to see the extension projects completed at the earliest since its Zara gold mine, which it bought in 2012 from Australia’s Chalice Gold Mines Ltd, is about to start production in the coming four months.
Based on statistical information, the distribution of the electrical consumption in Eritrea is 57% for industrial purposes, 22% for residential areas and 21% for commercial use.