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Ethiopia launches second power turbine at Nile dam, as Sudan monitors

Sudan Tribune logo Sudan Tribune 12/08/2022 SudanTribune

August 11, 2022 (KHARTOUM) – Ethiopia launched a second turbine generator to produce power at the mega-dam on the Blue Nile on Thursday, disregarding demands by downstream countries for water and technical understandings.

With this second hydropower generator, Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD) has begun generating 375 megawatts (MW) of electricity per day; similar to the capacity of the first turbine launched on February 20, 2022.

Combined, the two turbines will produce a total of 7500 MW of electricity which is equivalent to the total output from Gibe I and Gibe II power plants built previously on the country’s Omo River.

The giant dam is eventually expected to produce more than 5,000 MW.

Egypt fears would diminish its water share from the Nile River and called to ensure its needs of water while Sudan demands a technical cooperation deal to protect its small dams on the Blue Nile.

Abiy reassures

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed officially inaugurated the second turbine and reiterated that this dam aims to produce power and does not intend to harm Egypt and Sudan.

Ahmed further called on the countries to continue the tripartite negotiations to settle the outstanding issues on the GERD.

“Dialogue is the only way forward for the countries as the construction of the GERD continues,” he said.

“Sudan and Egypt should understand that Ethiopia has no intention of causing any harm to the downstream countries other than to meet its electric power demands,” he stressed.

He said the GERD is an affirmation of Ethiopia’s commitment to equitable and reasonable utilization of the Nile River resources.

“The water filling made so far to generate electric power with the two turbines thus far proved that Ethiopia is cautiously undertaking the tasks taking into account the water flow to the downstream countries,” he added.

According to state media, the construction of the GERD has generally reached an average of 83.3 % while the civil construction and electro-mechanical works are at 95 and 61 % respectively.

Up on completion, the $5 billion project will be Africa’s largest dam with a power generation capacity of 6,400 MW.

The dam, at 145 meters high and 1.78km long, could hold as much as 74 billion cubic meters of water.

Sudan is closely monitoring

In Khartoum, a senior Sudanese official said his country was closely monitoring the impact of the second turbine and would take the needed technical measures to protect the agricultural projects or dams.

“Khartoum would take the necessary action if the move threatened the safety of the Roseires Dam or affected irrigation of agricultural projects, hydroelectric generation or other uses,” Mustafa Hussein, head of the technical negotiating team on the GERD told Sudan Tribune.

Hussein further reaffirmed Sudan’s commitment to continue trilateral negotiation under the auspices of the African Union to reach a satisfactory and binding agreement between the three countries.

Located 15 Km from Roseires reservoir, the GERD threatens the safety of the Sudanese small dam built in 1961.

Sudan says the absence of an agreement on the exchange of information over the GERD activities poses a serious threat to the safe operation of the Roseires dam and the safety of 20 million Sudanese living along the Blue Nile.

(ST)

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