By Elizabeth Ingram
Ethiopia started generating electricity for the first time from its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) hydroelectric project on Feb. 20, 2022.
The controversial GERD project is Africa’s largest hydroelectric project, with a capacity of 5,000 MW, and was inaugurated by Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
According to Aljazeera, Abiy and a group of high-ranking officials toured the power generation station before initiating production.
In a statement at the inauguration, the prime minister emphasized the importance of the project to his country’s economic growth and stressed that his country did not wish to harm the interests of neighbors.
“Ethiopia’s main interest is to bring light to 60% of the population who is suffering in darkness, to save the labor of our mothers who are carrying wood on their backs in order to get energy,” Abiy said. As you can see, this water will generate energy while flowing as it previously flowed to Sudan and Egypt, unlike the rumors that say the Ethiopian people and government are damming the water to starve Egypt and Sudan.”
Positioned on the Nile River, neighboring countries Sudan and Egypt are concerned the hydro project will cause severe water shortages downstream as Ethiopia diverts Nile water to fill a vast reservoir behind the dam.
Ethiopian plant operators are reluctant to commit to an exact amount of water required to ensure the dam’s proper functioning, a fact that has made both Sudan and Egypt concerned about their own water and irrigation interests.
Thus far negotiations have failed to yield an agreement that satisfies all parties. Despite this, no further discussions were conducted at the 35th African Union Summit, held 5-6 February at AU headquarters in Addis Ababa. The event focused primarily on security issues and the recent military coups in Africa.
Source : Hydro Review / Elizabeth Ingram