Ministers from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan reached a long-awaited agreement on the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which will represent the largest hydropower project on the continent upon completion.
Located on the Nile tributary, the $4-billion dam has a designed installed power generation capacity of 6,000 MW, with the average flow rate of the Blue Nile producing a third of the installed power.
Released in a jointly issued statement on Thursday, the U.S.-brokered agreement delineates a strategy for filling the reservoir of the dam to maintain the flow of water to Egypt, which obtains approximately 85% of its water from the Nile River.
Initial filling of the dam will target a level of 595 meters above sea level, and aims to provide early electricity generation as well as mitigation measures for Egypt and Sudan in the case of severe droughts.
The completion of the dam will play a critical role in Ethiopia’s efforts to become Africa’s largest power exporter, as well as complement the country’s fully renewable energy matrix. Meanwhile, the majority of Egypt’s electricity supply is derived from thermal and hydropower stations.
The agreement is set to be finalized in Washington D.C. on January 29.