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Americans to assist Tanzania with energy supply

Symbion’s 112MW
thermal power plant
in Dar es Salaam
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 19 September 2011 – U.S. firm Symbion Power plans to boost electricity supply to energy-deficient Tanzania to 317 megawatts (MW), up from the company’s current output of 112MW, on the back of strong energy demand in East Africa’s second-largest economy.

“Power generation equipment for an initial 50MW is expected to arrive in Tanzania by the end of the month,” company CEO Paul Hinks said in a statement here.

The firm acquired a 112MW thermal power plant in Tanzania’s commercial capital in May. Symbion said it had previously been unable to generate electricity at full capacity due to shortages in natural gas supply.

“The forthcoming 50MW is part of the total additional 205MW that will be incrementally added to the existing 112MW, bringing the total megawatts produced by Symbion to 317,” the company said in an emailed response to questions sent by Reuters.

The company declined to reveal how much it plans to invest in Tanzania towards the additional power generation capacity.

The Tanzanian government said it planned to spend 1.2 trillion shillings (US$1.5 billion) by the end of next year for emergency power projects aimed at ending chronic energy shortages in the country.

In August the Tanzanian parliament approved an emergency power rescue package which is expected to add 572MW to the national power grid by December 2012, against the current deficit of 260MW.

Tanzania’s public power utility introduced rolling blackouts nearly a year ago due to recurring drought and under-capacity of the existing natural gas supply infrastructure.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) cut its 2011 growth forecast for Tanzania to 6% from 7.2% in March, saying frequent power outages would hurt output.

Tanzania’s economic growth slowed consecutively in the first two quarters of this year compared to the same period last year, according to data from state-run National Bureau of Statistics.