Ethiopia starts hydroelectricity production from ‘contentious’ Nile dam

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project, which has caused tensions to rise between Ethiopia and her neighbors Egypt and Sudan is reported to have started generating electricity on Sunday.

This was made by public by Ethiopian government officials who said a giant hydroelectric dam built on a Nile River tributary has started generating power.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed officiated an event which saw one of the 13 turbines of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) begin power generation.

“From now on, there will be nothing that will stop Ethiopia,” Abiy said.

The project has caused friction in Ethiopia’s bilateral relations with Egypt, which depends on the 6,695 kilometer-long (4,160 miles) Nile for most of its water supply. 

However, the lead engineer on the project Kifle Horo noted there was still work to be done.

Speaking to DW, Horo said;

“We just started generating power, but that doesn’t mean the project is completed,”. 

“It will take from two and half to three years to complete it,” Kifle added.

The Nile is among the largest rivers in the world and supplies communities all along it with water and hydroelectric power.

The drainage basin encompasses ten countries: Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Is successfully completed, the dam will eventually produce over 5,000 megawatts of electricity, doubling the electricity output of Ethiopia.

 It will also be one of the largest hydroelectric dams on the African continent once it is generating at or near capacity in the next year or two.

Ethopia’s downstream neighbours Egypt and Sudan view the dam as a threat because of their dependence on Nile waters, while Addis Ababa deems it essential for its electrification and development.

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