Africa’s largest dam, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), began generating the first 375 megawatts of energy.

HE PM Dr Abiy Ahmed started the first turbine with a producing capacity of 375MW yesterday, February 20, 2022. According to officials, the second turbine, with a capacity of 375 MW, will begin generating power in the following three months.

The $4.2bn (£3.8bn) dam, located in the western Benishangul-Gumuz region, has been a source of contention between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan since its construction started in 2011, says BBC.

“Ethiopia’s main interest is to bring light to 60% of the population who is suffering in darkness, to save the labour of our mothers who are carrying wood on their backs in order to get energy,” Reuters quoted PM Abiy said.

Photo: HE PM Dr Abiy Ahmed Started the First Turbine

What You Need to Know About GERD

  • Using 10 metric tonnes of concrete, standing at 175 metres tall and with a reservoir volume of 79 km3, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is an impressive feat of engineering.
  • The new dam will ensure Ethiopia’s energy independence while exporting upwards of $800m worth of electricity annually to the country’s neighbors in Djibouti, Kenya and Sudan.
  • The dam has 13 turbines with generating capacity of 5,150 MW of electricity.
  • The dam is currently 83.9% complete.
  • The reservoir’s total capacity is 74 billion cubic metres, and the target for 2021 was to add 13.5 billion.
  • More than supplying electric power to Ethiopia, the dam can also regulate the ecosystem of the region as well as help in controlling flood in the lower basin states
  • GERD, as a renewable and clean energy mechanism, will put Ethiopia as a major contributing nation to global carbon mitigation efforts
  • GERD decreases the volume of annual water loss by evaporation, which is about 13 billion cubic meters of water
  • Neighboring countries can purchase electricity from Ethiopia

According to the government, the project will cost $5 billion when completed and will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric plant, generating 5,150 MW of electricity, part of which will be sold to neighboring countries.

The government has already committed more than 100 billion Ethiopian birr ($1.98 billion) in the project, FANA broadcasting reported.


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