Ethiopian Water, Irrigation and Electricity Minister Sileshi Bekele said that the performance of civil constructions in the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has reached 80%, while the performance of hydro-mechanic work has reached 25%.
During his speech before the Ethiopian Parliament on Thursday, Bekele added that his ministry has bought nine turbines and an energy generator, with some of these turbines already reaching the dam’s site and the rest are in the port, according to the Ethiopian News Agency, ENA.
The GERD, formerly known as the Millennium Dam, is under construction in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia, on the Blue Nile River. Construction of the Dam started in April 2011 and was expected to be accomplished by 2017, despite changes in design and installed power generation capacity. However, in December 2018, the Project Manager of the GERD, Kifle Horo, said that the dam needs four more years to be completed in in 2022.
Horo added that the completion date is being pushed out to 2022 because of delays in the electro-mechanical part of the construction, as well as changes in design to higher generation capacity.
Bekele explained further that there are three main reasons behind the delay in the GERD constructions. The first reason is the contract which the Ethiopian government had signed with MeTEC company which he described has no experience. The MeTEC is a governmental company affiliated with the Ethiopian Ministry of Defence.
The second reason of delay according to Bekele is the discovery of a deep valley during constructions, which delayed constructions for three years. The plan of finalising the project within four years was not a real or successful plan, and this is the third reason for the delay, Bekele said.
In November 2017, Bekele told reporters that the GERD has no significant impact on downstream countries. “When Ethiopia says that GERD has no significant impact on downstream countries, this is not an unempirical pronouncement, but a factual statement based on scientific research,” he added. Regarding the funding of the GERD, the Ethiopian minister noted that over $730m have been collected.
The GERD is expected to become Africa’s largest hydropower dam with a capacity of 6,450MW upon completion. Its construction costs nearly $4bn.