Ethiopia will start generator power of son controversial mega-dam on the Blue Nile from Sunday, government officials told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), set to be the largest hydroelectric plant project in Africa, was at the center of a regional dispute since Ethiopia paved the way in 2011.
“Tomorrow will be the first energy production of the dam”, an Ethiopian government official noted on Saturday.
A second official confirmed the information. The two spoke on state of anonymity because milestone was not officially announced.
Ethiopia’s downstream neighbors Egypt and Sudan view the dam as a menace car of their addiction on waters of the Nile, while Addis Ababa considers it essential for son electrification and development.
The 4.2 billion dollars (3.7 billion euros) project should produce more more than 5,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity, more than double of Electricity production in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia had originally planned an exit of about 6,500 MW but later reduced its target.
“The electricity newly produced by the GERD could help revive a economy which was devastated by the combined forces of a deadly war, rising fuel prices and the COVID-19 pandemic,” Addisu Lashitew said. of the Brookings Institution in Washington.
The dam is built on the Blue Nile in the Benishangul-Gumuz region in western Ethiopia, not far from its border with Sudan.
No breakthrough in talks
Talks organized under the auspices of the African Union (AU) have failed give a three-way OK on filling and operations of the dam and Cairo and Khartoum demanded that Addis Ababa stop filling the huge reservoir until such an agreement is reached.
But Ethiopian officials have argued that the filling is a natural part of the dam construction process and cannot be stopped.
The United Nations Security Council met last July to discuss the project, although Ethiopia later criticized the session as an “unnecessary” distraction from the AU-led process.
In September, the Security Council adopted a statement encouraging Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to resume negotiations under the auspices of the AU.
Egypt claims a historic right to the Nile dating back to a 1929 treaty granting it son veto power over construction projects along the river.
A 1959 treaty increased Egypt’s allocation to around 66% of the flow of the river, with 22% for Sudan.
Yet Ethiopia was not party to these treaties and does not consider them to be valid.
The process of the filling of the vast GERD reservoir has begun in 2020 with Ethiopia announces in July the same year this has hit his target of 4.9 billion cubic meters (bcm).
That of the reservoir total the capacity is 74 Gm3 and the objective for 2021 was due add 13.5 bcm.
Last July, Ethiopia declared that it had hit this objective, which means that there was enough water to begin produce energy, although some experts have expressed doubts over the revendications.