- The hydro electric dam was launched six years ago
- The dam will be capable of generating 6,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity when it is fully operational.
- Dam has also elicited diplomatic issue pitting Ethiopia and Egypt
- Renaissance Dam will be the biggest hydro-electric power project in Africa when completed.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has entered its seventh year since construction began amid delays that has hit the project over the years.
Noting the importance that the project will play in Ethiopia’s economic development, president Mulatu Teshome says the Renaissance Dam will be the biggest hydro-electric power project in Africa when completed.
The construction of the country’s flagship project on the Blue Nile River, was officially launched six years ago on April 2 in Benishangul-Gumuz State, about 15 km east of the border with Sudan. The dam will be capable of generating 6,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity when it is fully operational.
Myriad of challenges
GERD is under construction on the Blue Nile River and has been facing a myriad of challenges since its construction kicked off.
Early this year there were reports that some rebel groups were planning to attack the hydro dam.Zadig Abrha, Ethiopia’s deputy government spokesman, said at the time 20 members of the Benishangul Gumuz People’s Liberation Movement were apprehended while trying to attack the dam site.
He added that Ethiopian security forces killed 13 of the 20 and the remainder fled into Sudan, where that government captured them and returned them to Ethiopian custody.
The Renaissance Dam has also elicited diplomatic issue pitting Ethiopia and Egypt. Even as As Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam nears completion, Egyptian fears that the dam will affect its historic Nile water share remain unchanged.
The Grand Renaissance Dam involves the construction of a main dam in Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC), with 2 power stations installed at the foot of the dam.
The power stations are positioned on the right and left banks of the river and comprise 16 Francis turbines with a total installed power of 6,000 MW and estimated production of 15,000 GWh per year. The project is completed by a 15,000 m3/s capacity concrete spillway and a rockfill saddle dam 5 km long and 50 m high, both located on the left bank.