Operations of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance dam to commence in 2020

Posted on :Friday , 4th January 2019

Ethiopia’s water and energy minister Seleshi Bekele announced on Thursday that the country will start energy production at the Grand Renaissance dam in December 2020.

The 6,000-megawatt Grand Renaissance Dam is the centerpiece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.

Bekele told the parliament that 750 megawatts is the planned initial production with two turbines and that the government expected the dam to be fully operational by the end of 2022.

This announcement is the first update on construction of the dam by a senior government official since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed cancelled the contract in August of a state-run military conglomerate, Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC), to build the dam’s turbines.

Abiy said that for more than seven years after the government awarded the contract to METEC, at the time that not a single turbine was operational. 

Diplomatic tussle
The dam has been a source of constant friction between Egypt and Ethiopia’s competing energy and water interests respectively.

Egypt dreads that the project will reduce waters that run to its fields and reservoirs from the Nile river in Ethiopia’s highlands and via Sudan.

A Tripartite Infrastructure Fund that deals with issues relating to the GERD was established in May last year, in addition to a resolution to regularize the summit of the leaders, to be held every six months alternately in the capitals of the three countries

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