Ethiopia will start generating power from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in June 2021, Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation, and Energy Seleshi Bekele said on Thursday during an online lecture at University College London.
Speaking about the GERD, which Ethiopia is self-financing, Seleshi said Ethiopia’s intention is not only to produce power for internal consumption but also to work with neighbouring countries on an East African power pool that will provide power for all of East Africa.
He also added that the 5,150-megawatt dam will ensure clean energy to all Ethiopian citizens when completed.
The UN Secretary General Representative on Energy attended the online lecture which discussed accelerating renewable energy development to meet universal energy access.
Bekele’s announcement comes a week after the GERD talks between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia reached a deadlock once again.
Following a 19 November meeting between the Sudanese, Ethiopian, and Egyptian ministers of foreign affairs and ministers of irrigation, Sudan’s Irrigation Minister Yasser Abbas announced that negotiations have been “paused indefinitely.”
The GERD, built 15 kilometers from the Ethiopian border with Sudan, has been a source of contention between the three countries.
Egypt, who has more than 85 per cent of its Nile water flow from Ethiopian highlands, fears the massive hydropower project will significantly diminish its crucial water supply, which is already below scarcity level. Sudan, however, fears it could endanger the safety of its own dams.
Ethiopia says the dam, which is set to be the continent's largest, is key to its development and hopes to become Africa’s biggest electricity exporter.