AFRICANGLOBE – Debrestion Gebremichael (Ph.D), board chairman of Office of Ethiopia’s National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation on the Construction of the GERD held a press conference with journalists recently in which he announced that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) would be ready for 1st phase power generation in a very short time.
It has been close to 6 years since the first cornerstone was placed for the GERD. At the press conference, Debrestion Gebremichael (Ph.D.), who is also the Minister of Information and Communication and one of the three deputy prime ministers of Ethiopia has announced that the dam is 56% complete. 1st phase power generation preparation included connecting the dam in Beinshangul Gumuz to the national grid. The connection of the dam near Suluta in the outskirts of Addis Ababa for which the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) signed a 1.2 billion dollar agreement with a Chinese state-owned company on April 26, 2013 will begin soon. The project to connect the GERD to the National Link was given to the State Grid of China Electric Power and Equipment & Technology Co. Ltd at a signing ceremony on that date.
Currently, work is going on two turbines expected to generate a total of 750 megawatts. Additionally, construction of power receiver and transmission stations are underway. In total 16 turbines are now installed at the GERD, according to the Minister.
Debrestion GebreMichael also spoke about the diplomatic efforts underway to overcome resistance from international financial institutions towards the dam’s completion, including pressure on the Salini-Impregilio, the Italian firm that is under contract for the construction of the GERD. The Minister also reiterated the positive results of having included the government Metal and Engineering Corporation (METEC) as one of the main contractors of the dam. METEC is one of Ethiopia’s major motors of growth with over 15 ‘semi-autonomous and integrated companies’ under its umbrella.