The Tanzanian government recently inaugurated 70MW of the 150MW Kinyerezi I gas power plant in Dar es Salaam, bringing the country closer to the target of 2,700MW of generation capacity by 2016.
Currently the country generates 1,490MW leaving a gap of 1,290MW which the government is determined to close by 2016 deadline.
President Jakaya Kikwete told local media that the Kinyerezi I gas power plant is feeding 70MW of power into the national grid, although he did not comment on when the remaining 80MW would be commissioned.
The plant was built by Norway's Jacobsen Electro.
A series of plants underway
At the official inauguration, the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) managing director, Engineer Felchesmi Mramba stated that the Kinyerezi I gas power plant is part of four other gas to electric power plants in the area with a combined capacity of 1,290MW.
He highlighted that GE experts will be handling all processes of commissioning the plant.
"The LM 6000 turbines have the capacity to produce power using natural gas or jet fuel...TANESCO decided to use this type of turbines that use two types of energies to produce power to ensure there is an alternative source even at times when there is no gas from Mtwara," Mramba said.
Mramba revealed that the construction of the remaining gas power plants, namely Kinyerezi II will commence next month, and the work on Kinyerezi III is set to start in January 2016 whereas the date for Kinyerezi IV has not yet been set.
Kikwete said he plans to meet with all stakeholders involved, including the Treasury and the World Bank to speed up the construction of the remaining power plants.
He said the decline in electricity production in the hydropower plants, has resulted in his government resorting to the use of natural gas for production, by constructing a $1.2 billion gas pipeline from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam, as well as the construction of the gas plants at Kinyerezi in Dar es Salaam.
"Soon we will break ground for the construction of iron ore mining and smelting projects at the Mchuchuma Coal and Liganga iron ore mines and set in motion the coal and iron ore to electricity production project"
Kikwete additionally gave insight into other alternative projects and technologies, including wind energy in Singida (600km) and Makambako (550km) and a 500MW solar energy project in Shinyanga (750km) all of them located at Dar es Salaam.