The inaugural ceremony of Gilgel Gibe III hydroelectric dam, which is located 470km south west of Addis Ababa, gets underway in the presence of senior government officials and invited guests.
About 40% of the total construction cost was covered by the government of Ethiopia. The remaining 60 percent was covered by a loan obtained from the China Exim Bank.
The construction of Gilgel Gibe III was carried out by the Italian company Salini Impregilo SpA, company which is also currently building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).
Having a height of 243m, 610m of length and with total storage capacity of 15 billion cubic meters, the dam has total installed capacity of 1,870 megawatts. It has 10 Francis turbines each generating 187 megawatts.
The dam has already started generating 900megawwats ahead of its inauguration, thus filling the gap created in the supply of power due to the impact of the El Nino induced drought on other power dams, according to Azeb.
Though the ten turbines are ready for power generation, some turbines are not generating as the dam retained only some water. However, all turbines will enter into generation through process, the CEO added.
Engineer Mebratu Teshome, Project Site Coordinator of the dam said, Ethiopians have acquired knowledge and experiences which will allow them to build similar projects in the future as several international contractors and designers took part in the construction of the dam.
The Gilgel Gibe III is the third hydro power plant which was built on Omo River. Gibe I and II, which were built on the same river, are currently generating 184 megawatts and 420 megawatts, respectively.
Upon going fully operational, Gilgel Gibe III will raise the country’s installed generating capacity to 4,200 megawatts.