The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will start generating electricity in 18 months time with two of its sixteen turbines generating 375MW each, the Ethiopian Embassy in London has said.

The Deputy Director General of the GERD National Coordination Office, Mr Zadig Abraha, said that over the past three years, the sale of bonds to domestic investors had provided 7.1 billion birr ($367 million) towards the 27 billion birr spent so far. The total project will cost 75.5 billion birr.
Funding of the 6000MW hydropower project represents "the golden age of our history as far as economic development and public participation is concerned", said Abraha.

Any increase in Ethiopia’s current generating capacity of 2000MW will allow the country to reduce its trade deficit by selling excess electricity – Ethiopia is already exporting power to Sudan and Djibouti, constructing a transmission line to Kenya and is in discussions with Yemen and South Sudan as well.

Once the GERD is finished and other hydropower projects, including the 1870MW Gibe III are online, Ethiopia could earn up to $2 billion a year from the export of power.

Ethiopia this month celebrated the third anniversary of GERD, which was launched in 2011 by the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. The project is so far 33% complete with work on schedule.

Image: Plan view of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.