Addis Ababa, April 2, 2016 (FBC) - The 5th anniversary of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) construction commencement was celebrated today at the project’s site, Guba wored, in Benishangul Gumuz regional state.
Senior government officials, including Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and invited guests attended the colorful celebration.
PM Hailemariam on the occasion said “there is nothing to hinder us from the fair and reasonable share of the Nile waters.”
The dam is a springboard for Ethiopia’s target of becoming a renewable energy hub of Africa, he said.
The dam proved how the spirit of ‘it is impossible’ could be crushed in unity as well as created national consensus, the Premier noted.
Moreover, it explained that diplomacy and dialogue are the only solution to resolve differences on the construction of the dam. It is also helping Ethiopia’s voice be heard at a global level, the Premier stated.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, being funded by the people and government of Ethiopia, is also beneficial to the Nile riparian countries, particularly to Sudan and Egypt, he added.
The dam helped Ethiopian professionals to benefit from Knowledge transfer so that the country could execute mega projects with domestic capacity in the future, he said.
Designed to have an installed capacity of 5,250 MW initially, GERD was upgraded to 6,000MW following the design optimization carried out by Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC), and this shows that our local capacity is growing, he said.
The artificial lakes to be created when the dam is completed could be used for transportation, fishing, tourism, research and as a center of excellence, he added.
The government is closely following up the construction of the dam and so far, it is well underway and as per scheduled, the Premier said.
The Premier also extended his gratitude to the people of Ethiopia, professionals and workers taking part at the project as well as to the security force for their unreserved support to the project.
He finally called on the people of Ethiopia to scale up their support to the project until it is completed.
Deputy Prime Minister and Chairperson of the National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation of GERD, Demeke Mekonnen, on his part said the dam is now halfway complete.
Ethiopian Electric Power CEO, Engineer Azeb Asnake, said fixing power distribution transformers has been finalized at the dam, including installation of 500KV transmission line which stretches from the dam-Dedesa-Holeta and that helps to carry electricity to the national grid.
She added the Nile River has begun to pass through the four box culverts located at the dam’s foundation since last December.
Ethiopia will expedite its growth by harnessing its hydropower, wind, geothermal and other renewable energy sources in addition to the 6,000MW of electricity it produces from GERD, she concluded.
Translated and posted by Amare Asrat