Monday, 29 March 2010
The Guardian, Monday 29 March 2010
Your informative report on the remarkable Gibe hydro-electric power project on the Omo river in Ethiopia (Report, 26 March) is of particular importance for a number of reasons. In a country which usually hits the headlines with news of droughts and famine disasters, the development of this massive potential source of energy is a great feat with enormous benefit for the surrounding region. Xan Rice's balanced report is commendable for its restraint from unsubstantiated comment, while recording the need for further careful investigation and planning. Many aspects are of special interest, including the tremendous scale of engineering within the Great Rift Valley and the complexities of management and financing.
The benefits of power for the neighbouring countries are especially far-reaching in terms of stability and social conditions. There are many examples of power supplies which have delivered under active hostilities against all odds: for example in Mozambique where power from the Cahora Bassa station on the Zambezi continued to deliver power to South Africa across 1,500km of vulnerable land during years of hostility, and in Iraq in the 1960s to 1980s, where power generated within Kurdistan at Dokan dam continued to enter the national grid despite major hostilities. Being part of an energy grid or linked to an external supply can help to bring peace and stability – a benefit which deserves the widest support in the hostile and volatile conditions of the countries surrounding Ethiopia – possibly extending to Yemen in the east and African countries further west. This benefit justifies the widest international support.
Posted by Graham Crawford at 07:20:00