Ethiopia: home to Africa’s tallest dam

19 May 2015

Africa’s tallest dam and biggest capacity are the words that describe Ethiopia’s dams currently under construction. The country will be a land of many distinctions when the current crop of hydropower stations is completed.

Ethiopia’s mountains and being the source of over 90% of the Nile’s water offer the potential of over 40,000MW of hydropower. The recently completed Tekeze Dam holds the distinction of being the tallest Dam in Africa overtaking, by 3 m, the Katse Dam in Lesotho which previously carried that title.

The dam was built by the Chinese National Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Corp and consists of the arch dam, two river diversion tunnels, power waterways, an underground powerhouse containing four 75-MW Francis turbines, a 230-kV substation, and a 105-km transmission line to connect the project to the national grid at Mekele.

The country’s hydropower development plans also include the Gibe III dam and the Grand Renaissance Dam. The Gibe III will be the highest roller-compacted concrete dam and will inject 1,870 MW of power into the national grid while the Grand Renaissance will add 6,000 MW making it the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa.

When all these dams are completed the country will have excess power capacity and be able to export this to other East African countries


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