Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Ethiopia – update

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15th September 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

On the Abay river, in the Beneshangul Gumuz region of Ethiopia.

Project Owner/s
Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo).

Project Description
The project envisages a plant with an installed capacity of 6 000 MW that will supply 15 692 GWh/y.

The major components of the project include:
• a 145-m-high, roller-compacted concrete (RCC) dam with a 1 780-m-long crest;
• a rock-filled saddle dam, 4 800 m long and 45 m high, with a bituminous surface facing;
• two outdoor powerhouses of 3 750 MW and 2 250 MW installed capacity, containing ten and six generating units respectively, each with a capacity of 375 MW; and
• a 500 kV switchyard, which will transmit power from the two powerhouses to the grid.

The main dam and saddle dam will create 74-billion cubic metres of impounding capacity, with a surface area of 1 680 km2 at full capacity.

A gated spillway, equipped with six radial gates and a discharge capacity of 14 700 m3/s at probable maximum flood occurrence, will be located on the left side of the main dam.

A saddle dam on the left side of the RCC dam, with an emergency side spillway, is envisaged to allow for the discharge of floodwater directly into the Roseires reservoir.

The construction of 123 km of access roads, as well as camps, workshops and other civil works, form part of the activities for the project.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Capital Expenditure
The project is valued at $4.8-billion.

Planned Start/End Date
The project started construction in 2011 and faced many delays. It is expected  to be completed in 2023, barring any further delays.

Latest Developments
Ethiopia has reported that it has completed the fourth and final phase of filling a reservoir for the GERD, a project that Egypt and Sudan have long opposed.

Egypt and Sudan, however, consider the project a serious threat to their vital water supplies.

In a sign of a potential breakthrough in July 2023, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed agreed on plans to finalise an agreement between the three countries on the filling of the dam and the rules for its operation.

However, Egypt's foreign ministry has since said that Ethiopia's step "places a burden on the course of the resumed negotiations, the next round of which ... is hoped will witness a tangible and real breakthrough”.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Salini Costruttori, a subsidiary of Salini Impregilo; GE Hydro France, China Gezhouba Group Corp, Voith Hydro Shanghai and China's Sinohydro Corp (construction contract); and Alstom (turbine and generators).

Contact Details for Project Information
EEPCo, tel +251 11 1 55 95 67, fax +251 11 1 57 1860 or email

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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