The electrified Addis Ababa Light Railway Transit (AA-LRT) is set to receive some 160MW electric power from four substations which directly receive power from the national grid. Following the completion of one of the four remaining substations erected at Ayat area, east of the capital, a Gas Insulated Switch (GIS) system was inaugurated by high level officials on Sunday.
Debretsion Gebremichael (PhD), minister of Communication and Information Technology, and Azeb Asnake, general manager of the Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP), were among the officials who attended the ceremony.
The 85 million USD substations project have been completed in six months despite delays due to right of way issues, according to Debretsion.
The four substations are located at Tor Hailoch in the west, Ayat in the east, Menelik Square in the north and Kality in the south. Hence, after more underground cable installations and related civil works completed, the AA-LRT is expected to receive uninterrupted electric power supply.
Debretsion said the four substations will supply some 160MW of power to the light rail. That is almost equivalent to the installed capacity of Adama Wind Farm which was inaugurated in 2014.
According Ethiopian Railways Corporation, power cuts will not be a concern for the smooth operation of the transit as the LRT will have a dedicated power supply through a grid system unless there is a nationwide blackout. The Addis light rail tramcars rely on 15kvs of power supplied mainly from overhead wires.
The AA-LRT is registered as clean and environmentally friendly project by the United Nations Office of Project Services (UNOPS) which furnished it with a loan of 150,000 USD.
Although originally scheduled for completion by January 31, 2015, the light rail is yet to commence service to ease the much maligned public transport in the city. ERC attributes the delay largely to right of way issues.
But as the light rail transit edges closer to commencing service, a draft prepared by ERC establishing a regulatory body, the Ethiopian Railways Network Authority, is submitted to the Ministry of Transport which will then forward it to the Council of Ministers.
The LRT’s power supply construction and installation of the four substations work was carried out by a Chinese state-owned company, National Grid Company. The same company, jointly with three others, is involved in the power transmission and substations project for the Addis-Djibouti railway line, stretching some 750km connecting the capitals of the two nations. The power supply project is currently at design stage.