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Ethiopia upgrades Africa’s biggest dam

Posted on Monday, 19 March 2012 14:13

Ethiopia on Monday said it plans to upgrade the electricity generating capacity of Africa’s biggest dam project, from 5,250 megawatts (MW) to 6000 MW after revising designs.

The “Millennium Dam on the Nile”, a mega hydro electric project, was launched last year with a $ 5 billion investment amid a diplomatic row between Ethiopia and Egypt. Egypt had expressed fears that the project over the Nile River would affect the water flow.

The design change, which sees an increase of 750 MW, follows months of negotiations between the two countries.

Ethiopia is the largest contributor to the Nile’s water whilst Egypt is the biggest consumer of the water resource among the riparian countries thanks to colonial era agreements between the North African country and Britain, its former colonial power.

According to the Ethiopian government the design work will help to save more than $ 200 million from the initially estimated cost of $ 5 billion.

A source close to a national committee established to oversee works on the dam said that the project will be completed as scheduled. The project, which will be implemented in least four years, will see its first phase completed and start generating power in the next two years.

Upon completion of the first phase of Millennium Dam, two of its units will start generating an initial 700 MW.

Ethiopia hopes to boost energy exports to neighbouring states including Kenya, Sudan and South Sudan. Djibouti started importing power from Ethiopia some four months ago.

The “Millennium Dam On the Nile”, which Ethiopia claims to be the first of its kind in Africa, will cover 40 Km by 40 km on the Nile River and hold 62 billion cubic meters of water.

Also read:
Ethiopia, Kenya thrash power deal
Ethiopia raises US$350 million for mega dam
Djibouti to pay US$18 million annually for Ethiopian power supply
Country profile: ETHIOPIA

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