The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will Improve the Lives of Many
- The Grand Ethiopian Renaissances Dam is being constructed for the purpose of generating electricity with total installed capacity of average annual energy production of about 15,759 GWh/yr.
- The Discharge rate of the dam is about 1,547 m3/s. The reservoir area will cover 1,874 square kilometers at full supply level of 640 meters above sea levelmaximum amd 590 metres minimum.
- It has a 1.8 km length and 145 m height Roller Compacted Concrete dam. Saddle Dam embankment of length 5.2 km and height 50 m. The total storage volume is 74 billion cubic meters.
Insufficient energy supply, minimal infrastructure, and weak economies are common characteristics of most developing countries. Sub-Saharan Africa, and particularly East Africa including Ethiopia. Ethiopia is primarily reliant on rain-fed agriculture and thus highly vulnerable to variations in seasonal rainfall, particularly recurrent drought. Extreme hydro climatic conditions often impose significant negative impacts across scales, ranging from household to regional to national levels that span various sectors, including agriculture, energy, industry, transport, health, and ecosystems. Mitigating these impacts is crucial for sustainable development.
About half of the residents of Ethiopia have entry to electrical energy, a decrease proportion than in most different African international locations and a far decrease proportion than in most different international locations all through the world. To deal with this, the Ethiopian authorities started setting up a dam on the Blue Nile in 2011 that may rank as Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam when accomplished in 2023.
The dam is 1,780 meters long and 145 meters high and the RCC’s full size of 10.2 million cubic meters is under construction on the Nile River . Construction of drilling, cleaning, dental concrete, and RCC (Roller Compact Concrete) is underway in the construction of the dam, which has so far been completed with a total of 8.06 million RCC inserts. This is based on lower cement and cost savings technology. The project’s construction include the two main diversion of the river and construction of relative construction processes , boating boats that serve the water needs of each of the power plants and the water needs of the lowland countries to each of the power stations..
With three spillways and 13 generators, the concrete construction will rise 145 meters (475 ft) and create a reservoir that may cowl 1,874 sq. kilometers (724 sq. miles) of land, an space concerning the measurement of Houston, Texas. Referred to as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), it’s anticipated to greater than double Ethiopia’s electrical energy output.
If it really works as deliberate, GERD will usher in a brand new period and assist brighten the principally darkish panorama that seems in nighttime pictures of Ethiopia. (Within the Suomi-NPP satellite tv for pc composite above, observe the distinction between the darkness of Ethiopia and the brilliant path of sunshine alongside the Nile River in Egypt, the place World Financial institution information signifies that 100% of the inhabitants has entry to electrical energy.) Along with producing electrical energy, GERD ought to mood harmful seasonal floods in Sudan, increase meals provides in Ethiopia by offering dependable irrigation water, and prolong the lifespan of different dams downstream on the Nile by trapping sediment.
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is catalyst of future cooperation developments in the Nile Basin region. GERD is a milestone in the Eastern Nile landscape, and from several perspectives: in hydro political terms, but also in terms of regime change over the management of the shared water resources, the dynamics of water utilization and management, economics and incentives for regional economic integration approaches, and more generalized awareness that water cooperation is more essential than ever. GERD can be taken as a concrete case for upstream-downstream cooperation for equitable and reasonable utilization of the shared water resources and as a means of sustainable benefit sharing among the Eastern Nile Basin countries.
Benefits of the Grand Renaissance Project
At the completion of the project, the average generation of 15,759 Giga watt hours per year will have a significant contribution to the national electricity system. The contribution of this project will be higher to reach the targets set by the rural electrification security and to increase the supply from 44% to 90%.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has the potential for sustainable energy, water, food and ecosystem services generation. In fact, at the end of the project, Ethiopian hydropower energy production will account to 140.0% of the total grid electricity. However, according to the data collected and analysed in this project, there has not been institutional cooperation and sectoral integration in the construction and planning of the GERD at local and national level. Moreover, if there has been the participation of responsible institutional cooperation and coordination, indeed, it was possible to apply nexus sectors; energy, water, food and ecosystem services integration with the grand Ethiopian renaissance dam, but not yet applied on it.
Ethiopia has major water resources, but there has been economic scarcity of water resource to use for its national demand. According to the data, the country has 124.4 BCM of river surface water, 70 BCM in lakes and 30 BCM in ground water resources. The annual flow of the Blue Nile River is 54.8 BCM at the Sudan border. The GERD will have 74 BCM water storage, which increase the annual water resource storage at national level. In this case, the grand Ethiopian renaissance dam will have a significant impact on the water storage capacity of the country.
In Ethiopia, the water storage per capita is only 43 m3 and the goal should be 755 m3 per capita like in South Africa. The addition of The Grand Ethiopian Renaissances Dam increases the water storage per capita of the county to 795 m3. In fact, water resources have linkage with other sectors, particularly food production, because the country is located on the El Niño drought affected area with insufficient annual rain water (Mohamed, 2017). Consequently, 27 million Ethiopians became food insecure because of the 2015 drought and 18.1 million were dependent on relief food assistance in 2020, of which 7.9 million were supported by the Ethiopian government Productive safety net program.
Economic growth in Ethiopia has been stifled by a lack of electricity. Industry margins are hollowed out by the nightmare of daily, unpredictable power cuts. The primary energy consumption is biomass and accounts for about 91% of the total energy consumption. The biomass is obtained from forests, agricultural areas and from animal wastes. According to the data, the country has 50, 000 MW hydropower energy potential, but the current installed capacity accounts only 3,810 MW with 7.6 % of its potential. In fact, Ethiopia has plenty of diversified energy sources availability.
Most of the people in Ethiopia have been obtained energy from biomass. About 6% of the urban and 0.5% of the rural population use kerosene for cooking. Kerosene is mostly used for lighting and about 8.6% of the urban and 64.9% of the rural use the fuel. However, most of the petroleum used for residential purpose. It has an impact on the national energy security and hard currency. In this case, the GERD has the potential to enhance the exploitable electricity production in the grid. At the end of the project, the dam is expected to generate 6,540 MW electricity, which would enhance the current electricity capacity grid by 140 %, and increase the hydropower share to 95.4 % of total production.
The hydropower is highly connected with the natural ecosystem, which provides the ecosystem services. The ecosystem services to maintain and support the water supply for the dam. In this case, the dam would be the vital to conserve and manage the water and land recourses properly. For example, afforestation and soil conservation have reduced sedimentation and increasing water flow from different tributaries to the dam. However, the data did not show that GERD realized the ecosystem services contribution for its sustainability.
Moreover, the ecosystem services have linkage with the sectors; energy, water, food and the reservoir. The dam contributes to energy security and to supply and maintain water resources. In addition, it limits erosion and land degradation, retaining and reducing sedimentation; because the Blue Nile basin highlands have been affected by soil erosion. The ecosystem services also have an impact on the water sector and GERD to maintaining water resources, water quality, minimizing sedimentation. Regarding the food sector, it supplies water for irrigation, pollination for plant reproduction, fishery and forestation.
Fishing and Tourism
Creating an artificial lake with a width of 1,874 square kilometer and 74 billion cubic meters, GERD will provide boat and boating transportation for the area, it also provides an opportunity to develop additional fish resources and become a world-class tourist destination. The lake and the islands will become a haven for many shores of the lake and will be the preferred living place for those who live in or around the area. In addition, it has 246 km. length behind the dam, which has been creating some opportunities to contribute the nexus sectors integration at local and national level as well.
Primarily, the objective of the dam is to maximize the capacity energy production from hydropower source. Secondary, to be used for fishery and tourism purposes. In this regard, GERD is multipurpose hydropower project. The dam has not been applied the nexus sectors integration and institutional cooperation. In addition, the project, not yet considered the importance of nexus sectors integration for sustainable output. Nevertheless, it has potential to applied nexus sectors integration and institutional cooperation for sustainable product.
The project will play a major role in increasing the capacity of the country generate electricity and to implement the energy export plan. Ethiopia believes in cooperation and mutual benefit the hydro electric energy generated doesn’t only benefit is to achieve its goals but also it would be available to neighboring states to support their development and economic integration results in peace and stability of the region. This mega project allows Ethiopia to Provide Electric power to neighboring and riparian states with a reasonable price, besides it will generate foreign currency to the state that will result in harmonizing relationship with neighbors.
Removing carbon dioxide release
Climate change is an increase in the normal temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere and the oceans which are highly connected to greenhouse effects. The main anthropogenic factors of GHG, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) affect greenhouse gases. Indeed, the gases lock some of the thermal energy disseminated through radiation from sun and earth, leading to an increase in the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere.
The biogeochemical processes leading to GHG emissions are very complex and emission measurements are cumbersome. Naturally, there is a biogeochemical process in the atmosphere and the reservoir dam. Nevertheless, the hydropower energy source has a contribution to reducing carbon emission of GHG effect, because it produces environmental friendly sources of energy. However, the hydropower reservoirs have been estimated to absorb 2.5% of anthropogenic carbon emissions globally. In this regard, the GERD would have the contribution to reducing the greenhouse effect. On the other hand, the climate change impact affects the water availability of the dam, then the water supply and energy production will be decreased.
Creating broad job opportunities
Equal employment opportunities were created for both men and women during construction. The GERD will provide clean energy that could be used for cooking and would significantly reduce the disproportionate health burden of indoor air pollution on women. The renewable energy production supported programs could be reduced the women burden and kitchen drudgery, because firewood collection, water fetching as well as grinding grains are consuming time and affecting the women health.
Many Ethiopians and citizens of different countries participated in the construction process. It is also important for Ethiopian citizens to gain knowledge, technology and skills transfer by working with highly developed and skilled professionals in such projects as it will enable them to gain knowledge and skills. In addition the existence of the project, commercial opportunities have expanded and enabled the country and the community to benefit from it.
New rural roads being built for access to different parts of the project create a chance for transport access, which contributes the development of the area by linking the project site and major cities.
Benefits For Downstream Countries
Nile is a cross-border river that flows from the highlands of Ethiopia to Sudan and Egypt, The annual average flow of 54 billion cubic meters on the border of Sudan. The minimum annual net benefit for Sudan and Egypt is ex- pected to increase from $4.9 to $5.6 billion in the agriculture and energy sectors with the GERD online; much of this increase is a result of the GERD’s ability to provide supplemental flow. The availability of regu- lated streamflow for downstream countries better supports hydro- power generation and provides options for year-round irrigated agriculture. This is particularly the case for Sudan as the Roseries dam reservoir is currently only able to support irrigation water for a few months per year.
The GERD’s ability to regulate hydrologic variability is also likely to lead to a reduction in prop- erty losses due to flooding, especially in Khartoum. Sediment yield from the Upper Blue Nile basin is approximately 131 million ton/year, and trapping this behind the GERD may cause both positive and negative externalities on down- stream countries. Regarding the benefits of the downstream countries:
The Grand Renaissance Dam is constructed only to generate Hydro electric power The River would continue to flow in its normal course after it generates power. Ethiopia is not yet intended for reducing the volume of water that is flowing to the downstream countries. Sudan can have benefit from GERD that is providing consistency of water, reducing the flood risk, preventing drought, reducing deforestation and degradation, creating an opportunity for more electricity and increasing the power generation capacity under the dam. Because of the construction of the GERD, there will be reduction of siltation and flood that have been ravaging Sudan for years. Dams in Sudan have been adversely affected by it and the neighboring country incurred a lot of cost to rectify the damages. The GERD will stabilize the flow of the Nile in Sudan and allow for agricultural production year-round (similar to the effect the High Aswan Dam had on Egypt).
Ethiopia is only building a dam that uses the water for producing electric power without retaining the water. This makes it clear that the lower stream countries can continue using the river for agricultural or power generation activities as ever without having apprehension of reduction of its volume, rather the dam enables the lower riparian states to have constant water in summer and winter to solve both water shortage and flooding that are seasonal problems to them. The reduction of evaporation as a result of the depth of the dam, steady flow of the river as a result of the conservation work and the actual construction of the dam helps the downstream states to cope up with the fluctuations of water flow that has been causing problems in conducting various productive activities on the river.
Ethiopia has not secured external financing to construct the GERD. While some argue this is in response to the project’s potential for increasing water conflict in the region or IMF and World Bank close relations with Egypt, others point to Ethiopia’s desire to prove its growing economy and sense of national pride. Thus, Ethiopia has raised funds by selling government bonds to citizens and private companies and by tapping into government reserves. This self-financing may be a unique situation unlike other large dam projects in Africa, in which countries are indebted to foreign lenders for decades after the completion of the project (e.g., the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Grand Inga hydropower projects).
The construction of GERD could improve regional cooperation and stability through affordable, available energy may be achievable through this project. Instituting a basin-wide power trade scheme is presented as a way forward that may enhance economic growth and welfare in all Eastern Nile countries. Studies that focus on the hydro-economics of the project conclude that cooperation among riparian countries could significantly increase basin-wide economic benefits. Ethiopia also has ambitious plan to establish power trade relations with distant nations, including Egypt, South Africa, and even Yemen. Achieving such a high level of interconnection is nontrivial. The required investment costs will be substantial, and the source or potential for financing is unclear. However, the county is already connected with its immediate neighbors including Kenya, Sudan, and Djibouti.
The availability of relatively constant and predictable release from the GERD under normal operating conditions may particu- larly benefit Sudan’s agriculture and hydropower sectors. Such has been the case for Sudan since the Ethiopian Tekeze Dam on the Atbara River came online, effectively reducing flood-induced losses, trapping silt, and providing farmers sufficient irrigation to plant multiple crops per year. Similar positive externalities are expected from the GERD, prompting some within Sudan to extend support for the project given the net national and regional gains.
The ongoing construction of the GERD has brought the international spotlight to the Nile basin, with riparian country re- lations oscillating between contentious and cooperative. How regional planning transpires, in a coordinated cooperative frame- work or not, will surely set a precedent for future development across the basin. The potential for increasing shared benefits is strong, but collectively realizing those benefits will require an even stronger united will.
In general, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project is expected to give significance role for the development of the Nile Basin Countries through cooperation on development, better use of water and the improvement of the climate. It reduces air pollution, reduce climate change, generate economic connectivity with neighboring countries, and bring about economic growth.