Ethiopia will start generating electricity from its largest hydropower plant Gibe III in August. Although only one of the ten turbines at the 1870MW power plant is expected to start operation in August, the government intends to start a new turbine every month afterwards. This is to ensure that adequate water is gathered into the 11.8 billion cubic metres reservoir, which is expected to hold about 3.1 trillion gallons of water that can be released for power generation or other purposes.
The dam is expected to also contribute to the regulation of flooding that typically occurs in the South Omo region and support the government’s irrigation efforts. On a negative note, the dam could however affect the flow of water into the Turkana lake in Kenya and affect the livelihood of fishermen in the area. This is however likely to be overlooked by Kenya, which is looking to complete a transmission line between the two countries in 2017 to enable imports of up to 200MW from Ethiopia. The Gibe III project is expected to motivate expansion of the transmission capacity planned as Rwanda is also looking to benefit from the additional power expected to come on-stream in Ethiopia.