The second turbine of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is now producing electricity, following an official opening ceremony.
According to state-run Fana Broadcasting, GERD’s Unit 9 will begin producing 270 MW of electricity today. The second turbine of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam begins operation as Ethiopia nears completion of the third filling of its massive dam on the Abay River.
The dam had officially began delivering power from its first turbine (375MW) in February 2022 With 18.5BCM in its reservoir and an 84 percent completion rate.
According to state media, this is not the only news Ethiopians should be rejoicing about, as power generation by the dam’s second turbine is well underway, bringing the current total installed capacity of the dam to 775MW. The GERD’S Unit 9 is reported to begin operation today and has an installed capacity of generating 270MW of electricity, while Unit 10 has already began in February. Combined, GERD will generate a total of 540 MW of electricity, which equates the electricity generated by Gibe I and Gibe II dams combined.
Since its construction began a decade ago in 2011, Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) has been a beacon of hope for its people. When completed, it will be the world’s tenth-largest dam and the largest hydro project on the continent, with 13 turbines and a capacity for storage of up to 74 billion cubic meters (BCM) and electricity generation of over 5000 megawatts (MW).
So far, it has cost the nation (the citizens being the primary financiers) more than ETB100 billion and is expected to cost a total of $5 billion by the end.
Ethiopia contributes to over 86% of the Nile water, yet 60% of the people remain in the dark, with a per capita electricity consumption of a mere 65KW (less than the Sub-Saharan Africa average of 488KW) registered in 2013.
The benefits Ethiopia will glean from this project are vast and numerous, from powering the agricultural, industrial, and service sectors, to boosting export earnings, reducing deforestation and CO2 emissions, and accelerating rural electrification.
According to IEEE Spectrum, the GERD, along with the Gilgel Gibe III Dam (completed in 2015), will nearly quadruple Ethiopia’s electricity capacity, with the excess exported potentially earning the country $1 billion per year.
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