Following its inauguration on Sunday by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Nile river went operational.
The Ethiopian PM cut the ribbon inaugurating the $5 billion hydro project in a ceremony broadcast live on local TV channels, during which he was accompanied by higher officials, senior military officers, and eminent personalities.
The country’s flagship project will initially be generating 750 megawatts of electricity out of the 6,000 megawatts capacity it will possess within five to seven years when the dam’s reservoir is filled to its 70 billion cubic meters capacity.
GERD was built solely through money raised by citizens.
Currently, the reservoir holds 18.5 billion cubic meters of water through fillings conducted during the past two rainy seasons in June, July, and August.
About 60 percent of the Ethiopian population lives in the dark at present, thus making the project crucial to Ethiopia’s domestic development. Also, a power interconnection scheme makes it possible for the Horn of Africa nation to sell the electricity produced to neighboring countries.
Abreha Belay, Ethiopia’s defense minister and board chairman of the GERD project, stated that the project is expected to be generating 15,760-gigawatt-hours of electricity per annum once it becomes fully operational.