Africa’s largest hydro power dam enters new construction phase

Africa’s largest hydro power dam enters new construction phase
Published: 29 September 2019 - 1:32 p.m.
By: Baset Asaba

Ethiopia has begun concrete filling of the middle part of its Grand Renaissance Dam as it prepares to generate power from Africa’s biggest dam late next year.

The partly built middle part of the dam has been unfilled for long time due to delays in the electromechanical works of the dam.

In an interview with local media, CEO of the Ethiopian Electric Power Dr. Abrham Belay disclosed the beginning of the concrete filling of the middle part of the dam and construction of the saddle dam, which is part of the main dam, will be completed in two months.

According to government’s schedule, the dam will begin generating 750 megawatts of electricity from two turbines by the end of 2020, when its construction reaches to the height of 560 meters above sea level.

According to the CEO, the construction of the dam is going well and metal works for the two power stations for the two turbines is half completed.

Early this year, the government-owned Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) company entered into contractual agreement with German, Italian and French companies after the military-run Metal and Engineering Corporation (METC), which was accused of embezzling billions of dollars allocated to the project, failed to do so.

The civil work on the dam, which is being under taken by Italian company Salini Impregilo, has reached more than 85% completion whilst the electro-mechanical works, which was undertaken by METEC, have reportedly reached 30 percent completion, far below the target level for this time.

GERD – on the Blue Nile River in the Benishangul-Gumuz Region — will feature 145 m height and 1,780 m length roller-compacted-concrete dam that will create a reservoir with a capacity of 70 km3. The dam will have a total of 16 Francis turbine-generating units.

The height of the left and right sides of the main dam has reached 145meter above sea level and the middle part will be filled to the same height in the following months, Abrham said.

According to the CEO, the construction of the dam is 68.3 percent complete and will fully be finalized in less than four years.

Two weeks ago, the Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi said that the dam on the Nile would have never been built was it not for the impact of the 2011 uprising in his county.

For Dr Abrham, Al-Sisi’s remark is usual and intended to convince the Egyptian people. The project was launched in 2010.

The President’s comment will not impact the dam. The construction of the dam is an issue of sovereignty which will not be up for negotiations, the CEO said.

Recently, Ethiopia rejected a proposal tabled by Egypt regarding the filling process of dam reservoir. It said the proposal contradicted previous deal reached between the three countries, including Sudan.

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed said finalizing the dam according to the set timeline is his government’s key priority.

Located in Benishangul Gumuz regional state, approximately 500 km North West of the capital Addis Ababa, GERD will be the largest dam in Africa and will be generating of 6,450 MW after completion.

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