State-run Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) and Power China International Group Ltd have signed a deal for the hydraulic steel structure work on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project.

The 125.6 million US dollars agreement was signed by Abraham Belay, CEO of Ethiopian Electric Power and Tian Jun, president and executive director of PowerChina.

The firm will design and supply 11 turbines to the dam project, said EEP in a statement on Friday.

PowerChina will be responsible for the installation and test run of the turbines, according to the deal. All the hydraulic steel structure works on the dam project scheduled to end in 2022.

Dr. Eng. Abraham said agreement signed the contract as part of its effort to to accelerate the construction of the dam. He also promised to provide the necessary support for the Chinese firm.

Earlier this week, government signed another agreement with GE Hydro France, a unit of GE Renewables, with similar intention of taking the construction project to the finishing point.

Minister of water and energy minister Seleshi Bekele said Ethiopia’s $4 billion dam project on the River Nile, which has been beset by construction delays and criticism from Egypt, will start initial operations in December 2020.

“750 megawatts is the planned initial production with two turbines,” Seleshi told parliament. The government expected the dam to be fully operational by the end of 2022, he said.

The 6,000-megawatt Grand Renaissance Dam is the centerpiece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter. (Daily Monitor)