The Gilgel Gibe II Power Station is a run of the river hydroelectric power station on the Omo River in Ethiopia. The power station receives water from a tunnel entrance on the Gilgel Gibe River. It has an installed capacity of 420 MW and was inaugurated on January 14, 2010. Almost two weeks after inauguration, a portion of the head race tunnel collapsed causing the station to shut down, repairs are expected to be complete in November 2010.

The Gilgel Gibe II consists of a power station on the Omo River that is fed with water from a headrace tunnel and sluice gate on the Gilgel Gibe River. The headrace tunnel runs 26 km (16 mi) under the Fofa Mountain and at its end, it converts into a penstock with a 500 m (1,600 ft) drop. When the water reaches the power station, it powers four Pelton turbines that Linkoperate four 107 MW generators. Each turbine is 3.5 m (11 ft) in diameter.

In 2004, the Government of Ethiopia secured €220 million from the Government of Italy for construction. The total cost of construction is €373 million with €50 million provided by the European Investment Bank, and the remaining €103 million from the Ethiopian Government. Construction on the power plant began on March 19, 2005, with Salini Costruttori as the main contractor. The power station was originally slated to be complete in late 2007 but was delayed because engineering problems encountered during construction. In March 2005, the contract to excavate the tunnel was awarded to SELI and in October 2006, a tunnel boring machine (TBM) hit a fault, delaying the project. On June 9, 2009, both TBMs met each other and the tunnel was ready for hydraulic testing that September. The tunnel is "considered one of the most difficult tunnel projects ever undertaken, due to the critical, and in some reaches, exceptionally adverse, ground conditions." The power station was inaugurated on January 14, 2010.

Tunnel collapse

The exact date is unknown but about ten days after the project was completed, about 15 m (49 ft) of the 26 km (16 mi) headrace tunnel collapsed. The collapse may have been attributed it to structural failure caused by expedited construction and a lack of proper studies. The official statement of the construction firm Salini Costruttori, released two weeks after the official inauguration was that "an unforeseen geological event provoked a 'cave in' and a huge rock fall involving about 15m of the 26km headrace tunnel." The tunnel is expected to be repaired by November 2010.