Multiple news agencies are reporting that Ethiopia has stopped a planned attack on its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and associated 6,000-MW hydro facility.
GERD is under construction on the Blue Nile River, and reports indicate Zadig Abrha, Ethiopia’s deputy government spokesman, said 20 members of the Benishangul Gumuz People’s Liberation Movement were apprehended while trying to attack the dam site. Abrha said Ethiopian security forces killed 13 of the 20 and the remainder fled into Sudan, where that government captured them and returned them to Ethiopian custody.
The Ethiopian government is saying that the liberation movement is Eritrean, but Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel reportedly told Bloomberg News he had “never heard of this group.” Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in 1991 after a 30-year war for independence.
The GERD project has been under construction since 2011 and is expected to cost $6.4 billion and be completed in 2018. It will be owned and operated by the Ethiopian Electric Power Corp.
GERD will feature the largest roller-compacted-concrete volume dam in the world, at 10.2 million cubic meters. The main dam will be 1,800 meters long and 175 meters high and a concrete-faced rockfill saddle dam will be 5,000 meters long and 60 meters high. Its reservoir will have a capacity of 70 cubic kilometers.
Two powerhouses at the toe of the Main Dam will house 16 Francis turbine-generator units, each with a capacity of 375 MW. Total annual generation from the project is expected to be 15 TWh.