Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopia’s Water and Sanitation Minister, says Ethiopia is set to start producing energy at the Grand Renaissance dam next year.
“We expect the dam to be fully operational by the end of 2022. 750MW of power is the planned initial production with two turbines by December next year,” said the Minister.
The Grand Renaissance Dam project, aiming to become Africa’s biggest power exporter in Ethiopia’s centrepiece, is expected to produce 6,000MW upon completion. The dam has also been a source of constant friction between Egypt and Ethiopia’s competing energy and water interests respectively.
The Minister said that the US $4-bn dam is 80% complete and the performance of hydro-mechanical work has reached 25%. He added that the ministry has bought nine turbines and an energy generator, of which some are at the port yet to be delivered.
Construction of the dam, which was formally known as Millennium Dam, began in April 2011 and was expected to be accomplished by 2017. It however experienced delays due delays in the electro-mechanical part of the construction as well as changes in design to accommodate higher generation capacity.
Moreover the government has signed agreement with GE Hydro France, a unit of GE Renewables, to accelerate the completion of the dam. The firm will be paid nearly US $61m to manufacture, fix and test turbine generators.