Ethiopian dam project to double energy output

A delayed dam project along an Ethiopian river worth $1.8bn could be generating power by June and nearly doubling the country’s energy output, according to officials.  

Gilgel Gibe III, a 243m-high concrete dam with an associated hydroelectric power plant, has been under construction since 2008 and is expected to be fully operational by early 2016 – five years later than planned.

"Eighty-eight percent of the work for the Gibe III hydropower project has already been completed," Azeb Asnake, chief executive officer of the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, told Reuters.

According to Asnake, two of ten units would be ready by June, with additional units to follow monthly after that. The project is expected to generate 1,870MW of power, addressing the power outages in Ethiopia and helping the country’s economy.

The Ethiopian government intends to spend $12bn to tap its rivers in a bid to beat energy shortages over the next two decades and become a leading power exporter in Africa. With an economy that is expanding by 9 per cent per year, the dam is also aimed at sustainable growth.

A bigger project, the 6,000MW Grand Renaissance Dam, is being developed along the Nile.

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