Third Filling Complete and Second 375MW Turbine Commissioned at Ethiopia’s Mega Hydro Dam

  • Ethiopia has announced that it has completed the third filling of the Grand Renaissance Dam Hydro Project without incident or raising tensions with downstream neighbours Egypt and Sudan.
  • At the same time, they commissioned the second 375MW turbine of a total of 16 at the mega hydro project.  

“Today as you see behind me, the third filling is complete,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said from the dam site in images broadcast on state television.“The Nile is a gift of God given to us for Ethiopians to make use of it.”

Related news: Ethiopia to export 200MW to Kenya

The project is being developed and funded by state-owned public utility enterprise Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation. The Grand Renaissance Dam will be the biggest hydropower station in Africa and the dam itself will have a surface area of 1874 km2 when fully completed.

The 6450MW facility comprises a concrete gravity dam on the Blue Nile River with a storage capacity of 70 billion cubic metres (bcm) of water, one outdoor powerhouse on each bank of the river, three spillways, and a saddle dam.

Related news: Plans for a dam across the nile triggered a war in 1956. Will it happen again?  

The powerhouse on the right bank will be equipped with ten 375MW Francis turbine generator sets while the left bank powerhouse will have six similar capacity turbine generators. Each turbine will be driven by the water flow through an 8m-diametre, 180m-long penstock.

Ethiopia has been building the dam since 2010, leading to tensions with Egypt and Sudan. The contention surrounds Sudan and Egypt’s fears that the $4 billion dam could lead to water shortages in their own territories. Read more 

To date there is still no agreement between Ethiopia and its downstream neighbours Egypt and Sudan about the GERD’s operations despite talks held under the auspices of the African Union.

Project manager Kifle Horo said that overall the dam was now more than 83 percent complete and that the goal was for it to be finished in the next two and a half years.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

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