The second turbine of Ethiopias controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has been switched on by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
This practically means that Ethiopia has harnessed 270 megawatts of power from the second turbine that goes operational yesterday.
The largest hydroelectric dam in Africa is so far 83.3 percent complete. The civil work is 95 percent completed while the electromechanical work is 61 percent completed according to Kifle Horo, GERD Project Engineer.
The dam height has reached 600 meters above sea level while holding back more than 22 billion cubic meters of water in the dam reservoir. The total capacity of the dam’s reservoir is 74 billion cubic meters.
When completed in 2024, the dam will power the African economies with over 6000 megawatts of power.
Ethiopia has been at loggerheads with downstream neighbors Egypt and Sudan for years over a $5 billion mega-dam it’s building on the Nile River.
Egypt has described the unilateral action as a violation of international law and its foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, wrote to the United Nations Security Council in July, reiterating its objections and accusing Ethiopia of derailing attempts to resolve the standoff.
The Nile is the most important source of fresh water in a largely arid region that is very vulnerable to drought and climate change and is experiencing rapid population growth.
Egypt relies on the 4,000-mile-long river for as much as 97% of its supply, and much of eastern Sudan’s population depends on it for survival.
Ethiopia is counting on a 5,150-megawatt hydropower plant on its new dam to help supply electricity to the 60% of its population that don’t have access, and sustain its manufacturing industries. The plant began generating power in 2022, some of which will be sold to neighboring countries.