Africa’s Largest Hydroelectric Power Plant Surpasses Expected Electricity Generation: Contributes to 16% of East Africa’s Total Electricity Output

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The Ethiopian government has noted that Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant has surpassed expected electricity output.

The government disclosed that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has generated more than 2,700 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity during the past 10 months.

The Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) said the mega hydroelectric power plant has surpassed its initial planned power generation targets in the past 10 months of the current 2023/2024 Ethiopian fiscal year. Its fiscal year started on July 8, 2023.

According to data from EEP, the dam has registered a 26 per cent increase from the initial plan of 2,152.8 GWh. The increase in power output is attributed to the ability of the Grand Renaissance dam to store more water. This enables the two operational turbines of the power plant to function at full capacity.

The Significance of Africa’s Largest Hydroelectric Power Plant, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

The feat achieved by Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant is astounding as it reveals its significance. With the new milestone, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance dam contributed about 16 per cent of the East African country’s total 16,900 GWh of electricity generated during the reported period from various power generating plants across the country.

The dam is expected to produce even more electrical power once fully functional. In April, the Office of National Coordination for the Construction of Gerd announced that the project construction had reached over 95 per cent.

Currently, the dam is at 96.4% in construction as the final phases of its completion take shape. When the remaining 11 units installed on the dam start producing power, the country’s current generation capacity is expected to increase by 83 per cent.

The State of Affairs Regarding the Completion of the Grand Renaissance Dam

Once fully completed, Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant will have a generating capacity of 5,150 megawatts. According to Ethiopian Electric Power, it will also have an annual energy output of 15,760 GWh.

The Ethiopian government started to build the GERD on the Nile River in April 2011. Since then, the mega hydroelectric power project has been a major issue among the three Nile-bound countries of Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan.

However, Ethiopia is adamant about constructing the dam as it believes that it will power its development and aspirations. The country expects the dam to propel it to attain a lower-middle income status soon. Meanwhile, Egypt and Sudan frequently express concern that the dam would affect their share of the river waters.

Other Similar Projects Across the African Continent

One of the significant projects that is also expected to revolutionize energy production in Africa is the Mega Batoka Hydropower Dam.

Like Africa’s largest hydroelectric power plant, the Batoka hydropower dam is expected to be one of the largest. At the beginning of the year, The Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) was set to receive bids by April 2025, with the new potential developers expected by September of the same year.

Zambia and Zimbabwe are planning to retender the Batoka Gorge hydropower project with an estimated value of $5bn and a capacity of 2.4 GW. The Batoka Gorge hydropower plant is planned for a site on the Zambezi River, 54km downstream from Victoria Falls, straddling the border between the two nations.

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