Addis Ababa (AFP) – February 19, 2022. 18:15
Produce AlNahda dam More than 5,000 megawatts of electricity at a cost of 3.7 billion euros
- Cairo and Khartoum demanded that Addis Ababa stop filling the dam until an agreement is reached.
- The electricity that will be generated from the Renaissance Dam can help revive an economy destroyed by a combination of factors
- The Renaissance Dam is located on the Blue Nile, about 30 km from the border with Sudan
Ethiopia starts power generation from AlNahda dam The controversial river will be on the Nile from Sunday, government officials told AFP.
The dam, which is expected to be Africa’s largest project to generate electricity from water, has been at the center of a regional dispute since Ethiopia launched the project in 2011.
“Tomorrow (Sunday) the first operation of generating electricity from the dam will start,” an Ethiopian government official said.
The official asked not to be named in the absence of any official announcement in this regard from the Ethiopian authorities.
The downstream countries, Ethiopia’s neighbors, Egypt and Sudan, fear the repercussions of the Renaissance Dam on their water security, while Addis Ababa stresses its importance for electricity generation and development.
The project, at a cost of 4.2 billion dollars (3.7 billion euros), aims to produce more than 5,000 megawatts of electricity, more than twice the electricity produced by Ethiopia.
Ethiopia was originally planning to produce about 6,500 megawatts before it lowered its target.
“The electricity that will be generated from the Renaissance Dam can help revive an economy destroyed by the combined factors of a bloody war, high fuel prices and the Covid pandemic,” said Addisu Lashitio of the Brookings Institution in Washington.
The Renaissance Dam is located on the Blue Nile, about 30 km from the border with Sudan, with a length of 1.8 km and a height of 145 meters.
The Blue Nile, which originates in Ethiopia, meets the White Nile in Khartoum to form the Nile River, which crosses Sudan and Egypt and flows into the Mediterranean
Talks held under the auspices of the African Union did not reach a tripartite agreement on the filling and operation of the dam. Cairo and Khartoum demanded that Addis Ababa stop filling the dam’s reservoir until an agreement is reached.
However, Ethiopian officials consider filling the dam a natural stage of the dam’s construction process and it cannot be stopped.
Last July, the Security Council initially discussed the project, but Ethiopia, which has long opposed the discussion of the dam issue in the Security Council, considered the council’s statement a “unhelpful” departure from the track led by the African Union.
In September, the Security Council adopted a statement recommending that Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan resume negotiations under the auspices of the African Union.
Egypt adheres to its “historic right” to the waters of the Nile, which is guaranteed by a series of agreements concluded since 1929. At that time, Egypt obtained the right of veto to build any projects on the river.
In 1959, under an agreement with Khartoum on the distribution of Nile waters, Egypt obtained a 66% share of the annual flow of the Nile, compared to 22% for Sudan.
However, Ethiopia is not a party to those agreements and does not consider them legal.
The phase of filling the huge reservoir of the dam began in 2020, and Ethiopia announced in July of that year that it had reached the goal of filling 4.9 billion cubic meters.
The total capacity of the reservoir is 74 billion cubic meters of water, and the goal in 2021 was to add 13.5 million cubic meters.
Last July, Ethiopia announced that it had reached that goal, which means that it would contain enough water to start producing energy, although some experts doubted this.