Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

The first retaining dam on the Blue Nile

Hydropower Plants

Start of works

December 2010

Progress status


Data updated to September 2021

Bameza, Etiopia
SDG Obiettivi di sviluppo sostenibile
Affordable and Clean energy Affordable and Clean energy
Climate action Climate action

The project is located approximately 700 km north west of the capital Addis Ababa, in the region of Benishangul – Gumaz along the Blue Nile. At the end of the works, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will be the largest dam in Africa: 1,800 m long, 170 m high.

The main dam of the GERD project, with its 10.7 million m³ of RCC, is twice the volume of the largest dam of its kind, built so far or under construction. Furthermore, it is the first retaining dam on the Blue Nile. It will create a reservoir covering 1,875 square kilometres and contain 74 billion cubic metres of water.

The project involves the construction of a main dam in Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC), with 2 power stations installed at the foot of the dam. The power stations are positioned on the right and left banks of the river and comprise 13 Francis turbines with a total installed power of 5,150 MW and estimated production of 15,700 GWh per year.

The project is completed by a 15,000 m3/s capacity concrete spillway and a rockfill saddle dam, both located on the left bank, a 500-kV substation and ancillary works. The ancillary dam is 5 km long, and 50 m high, built in rockfill with an overall volume of 15.3 million m³.


Technical data

Main dam volume (m3)


Excavation (m3)


Ancillary dam volume (m3)


Once completed, the project will allow for an annual reduction of over 2,000,000 tons in CO2 emissions.

The GERD is a major project whose construction required innovative solutions. One feature was the composition of the RCC, developed by global experts to have it settle more quickly thereby improving the production and quality of the material.

Client: Ethiopian Electric Power