Located on the Omo River 450km southwest of the Addis Ababa, the €1.5bn Gibe III hydroelectric dam will harness the country’s vast water supply to generate up to 6,500GWh of electricity per year.

The project is designed to almost double the electricity production in the country. Power generated from the facility will also be exported to neighboring countries through a regional interconnection transmission system.

Featuring 10 Francis turbines, the Gibe III facility comprise 243m roller-compacted concrete (RCC) dam, the first of its kind in Ethiopia and one of the tallest in the world.

The project, which created 20,000 jobs during various construction phases, also comprises three diversion tunnels and two twin pumping tunnels, two intake structures, two horizontal tunnels, four vertical wells and two distributors.

Salini Impregilo was earlier contracted to build the project for state-owned public utility enterprise Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo).

Salini Impregilo CEO Pietro Salini said: “We are grateful to Ethiopian Electric Power and the Federal and Regional Governments for dealing with us as partners in development, and for trusting our capacity for completing Gibe III.”

Expected to increase the country’s production capacity by at least 80%, the project is the extension of complex that comprise two other hydroelectric dams Gibe I and Gibe II.

The three dams were built by Salini Impregilo while the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) is under construction. All these hydro-electric projects will contribute to the country’s aim to generate 40,000MW of electricity by 2035.