Ethiopia has begun installing the first two turbines, which will generate 700 megawatts (MW) of electricity, in its 6 000MW hydroelectric plant on its Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile.
Although the river basin covers eleven countries, 85% of its water rises in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian government is on an ambitious drive to increase its installed electricity capacity from the current 4 400MW to 17 300MW by 2020, with part of the electricity to be exported to neighbouring and regional countries.
Border towns in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland and Kenya are already interconnected with the Ethiopian power grid. Plans to connect the grid to South Sudan were foiled by the outbreak of a civil war in that country in December 2013.
Ethiopia is planning to fuel its ambitious industrialisation plans with renewal hydro, geothermal, wind, solar and bio-waste energy, and to become a net zero carbon emitter by 2025.