The Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE) says the Grand Ethiopian renaissance Dam (GERD) will begin generating 750 MW of electricity by December 2020.
According to Ferhiwot Weldehanna, State Minister of MoWIE, the 2 out of 16 turbines will soon be in operation. All 16 turbines should be working by 2022.
The dam, was launched in April 2011. It was initially expected to be completed in 2017, but it was delayed due to a change in design, leading to generation capacity and delays in the electromechanical works.
The State Minister is confident about support from Sudan despite the recent change in government.
“We are constructing the dam based on a win-win situation, without taking any advantage one over the other.”
Any government in Sudan will understand the benefit of the GERD even for the people of Sudan,” said Frehiwot.
According to official estimates, the dam is now 65% completed. It is Ethiopia’s most important project, and will transform the country’s energy profile by adding 6.4 GW to its generating capacity.
The Ministry also presented a nine-month report on irrigation. They plan to use irrigation to create jobs for youth and boost agricultural productivity by shifting from rain fed agricultural practices. Three irrigation projects will be inaugurated next week. They will develop over 8,000 hectares of land.
The other State Minister, Abreha Adugna says the ministry has completed construction of Megech – Seraba, Ada’a Bacho, and Meki-Zway irrigation projects that are located in Amhara and Oromia regions. An irrigation project in Amhara Regional State, Megech Seraba, which pumps water from Lake Tana, the largest lake in Ethiopia, has also been completed.
The project costs over 220 million birr. It is expected to develop up to 4,000 hectares of land using irrigation. The dam developed 500 hectares of land last fiscal year as a pilot project. It also developed over 1500 hectares this fiscal year.
Ada’a Becho, another irrigation project built in Ada’a woreda in Oromiya Regional State will be inaugurated. The project was finished last year but the inauguration was delayed.
“The issues are solved and the Oromia Water, Mineral and Energy Bureau will be responsible for administering the dam as it needs close follow up, maintenance and professionals to run the pumping generator,” says Abrha Adugna.
The Ada’a Becho, irrigation project is designed to develop 2,000 hectares of land. Meki-Zway irrigation project is built by pumping from Lake Zway. It is the third project to be inaugurated. It is expected to develop about 2000 hectares of land.
“The ministry plans to finalize irrigation projects at hand and will entirely focus on adding more to modernize the agricultural sector,”Abrha said.