Ethiopia will start energy production at the Grand Renaissance dam in December 2020, Reuters reported the water and energy minister saying today.
“750 megawatts is the planned initial production with two turbines,” Seleshi Bekele told parliament. He said the government expected the dam to be fully operational by the end of 2022.
The 6,000-megawatt Grand Renaissance Dam is the centrepiece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter.
The minister’s announcement is the first update on construction by a senior government official since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in August cancelled the contract of a state-run military conglomerate, Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC), to build the dam’s turbines.
The project was announced in 2011 and only 65 per cent of work has been completed. “It is a project that was supposed to be completed within five years, but seven or eight years later not a single turbine is operational,” Ahmed said.
Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt have been holding regular talks regarding the project as Cairo fears it will negatively impact access to its share of Nile waters, the country’s main water source.