Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam 6,000 MW
Contract signed: 2010
Client: Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP)
Value: € 3,377.05million

The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam represents the future of Ethiopia's energy production. Once the dam is finished, it will be the largest of the African continent, measuring 1,800 m in length and 155 m in height, with a 74,000 million m3 reservoir.

The project is located along the Blue Nile, at approximately 700 km north-west of Addis Ababa, within the Benishangul – Gumaz region. It comprises a main RCC dam and 2 hydroelectric power plants situated on the river's two banks. The power-plant on the right bank includes 10 Francis turbines (each one generating 375 MW). The one on the left river bank includes 6 turbines with an installed capacity of 6,000 MW and an expected yearly production equal to 15,000 GWh. The project also includes a concrete surface spillway (offering a capacity of 15,000 m3/s,) a 5 km-long rockfill saddle dam (offering an overall volume of 17 million m3); a 400 Kv power line connecting the Beles substation to a 500 Kv substation and other accessory works (roads, bridges, etc.).

Today, GERD is the country's main ongoing hydroelectric project: it will triplicate Ethiopia's consumed energy and will be the country's driving force for exporting energy to its neighbouring countries.  

Exports that have been guaranteed today towards Sudan, Djibouti, South Sudan and Yemen will generate annual takings equal to €2 billion.




The Renaissance Dam
Once the dam is finished, it will be the largest of the African continent and will triplicate Ethiopia's consumed energy.



This project is not only significant in technical and industrial terms. It also represents a possibility for development under many aspects: from energy production to an increase in employment and the project’s contribution to the local and national economy. In fact, the GERD also contributes to modernising Ethiopia's production sector and to improving the quality of the life of its inhabitants.



1Energy production

6,000 MW of overall installed power and a yearly expected production of 15,000 GWh;

2Development of fishing activities

the dam will create a storage capacity of 1,875 km², which will offer new work opportunities connected to fishing, as well as diversification and greater availability of food for the local population;

3Increase of aquatic and terrestrial fauna

the water reservoir will represent a new habitat for resident and migratory aquatic birds;

4Energy export

the project will triplicate the energy currently consumed by Ethiopia. It will be the driving force for exporting energy towards neighbouring countries;

5Reduction of CO2 emissions

production of clean and renewable energy that directly benefits the environment;

6Development of the local economy

the project will promote a new commercial network near the area;

7Access roads

building access roads towards worksites offers local communities a useful transport network to improve trade;



The potential impacts of the project were evaluated in a separate ESIA (Environmental and Social Impact Assessment) approved by the competent authorities and managed through specific mitigation and monitoring plans. In addition, the three countries in which the Blue Nile flows (Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt) are undertaking another study to optimise reservoir impounding and plant management strategy, to ensure an equitable distribution of the benefits from the project.

By itself, Salini Impregilo’s construction work in the Gerd project is making a significant contribution to the growth of the country. In 2015 alone, direct investment and downstream activities were worth 0.87% of GDP and as much as 1% of household income in the country, while also accounting for 0.78% of tax revenue and 0.26% of total employment1.

1 Figures from a study conducted by the company with methodological oversight by KPMG Italia.










Main Dam:

Height:155 m
Length: 1,780 m
Excavations: 3,500,000 m3
Volume: 10,200,000 m3;

Powerhouses (x2):

Right river-bank:10 Francis turbines, each offering 375 MW
Left river-bank: 6 Francis turbines, each offering 375 MW

Power & Energy:

Installed power: 6,000 MW
Generation capacity: 15,000 GWh/year

Rockfill Saddle Dam:

Height: 50 MW
Length: 5,000 m
Rockfill Volume: 16,500,000 m3