The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will start to generate electricity within 18 months.
Two of its sixteen turbines will start to generate 375mw of power each. In a statement, the Deputy Director General of the GERD National Coordination Office, Mr. Zadig Abraha, said that over the past three years, the sale of bonds to domestic investors had provided 7.1 billion birr (US$367 million) towards the 27 billion birr spent so far.The total project will cost 75.5 billion birr. Mr. Zadig said Ethiopia's funding of the 6,000-megawatt hydropower project represents "the golden age of our history as far as economic development and public participation is concerned. "
Any increase in Ethiopia's current generating capacity of 2,000 megawatts will also allow the country to reduce its trade deficit by selling excess electricity. Mr. Zadig pointed out that the government is already exporting power to Sudan and Djibouti. He noted that it is constructing a transmission line to Kenya and is in discussions with Yemen and South Sudan as well.
Once GERD is finished and other hydropower projects including the 1,870-megawatt Gibe III are on line, he said Ethiopia could earn up to US$2 billion a year from the export of power.