Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 02 December 2010 – Tanzania is planning with Brazil to build a power plant estimated to cost US$2 billion (R14 billion) that could transform East Africa’s second largest economy into a net exporter of electricity.
Tanzanian foreign affairs minister Bernard Membe and other officials held talks with their Brazilian counterparts in Sao Paolo last September on the construction of the proposed
2 100MW Stiegler’s Gorge hydro-power station. The power plant will be some 200 km southwest of Dar es Salaam.
“The power plant to be constructed using Brazilian technology would generate excess power that could be exported to the East and Southern African power pools,” Aloyce Masanja, director- general of Tanzania’s state-run Rufiji Basin Development Authority, told Reuters.
Masanja said the plant would be a source of cheap, abundant energy at a cost of around 2 American cents per kilowatt hour. It would help control flooding in the Rufiji area and would create a reservoir with a total capacity of 34 billion cubic metres to supply Dar es Salaam and other regions.
Reuters reports that Tanzania’s chronic energy shortages have resulted in rolling power outages, undermining economic growth in the country. The government is now considering funding options for the project, including concessional loans, private investment or state financing,
Brazil will provide the technology to build the plant, and a government delegation from Brazil is expected in Dar es Salaam next month for further discussions. “The project will involve the installation of three giant underground turbines, each with the capacity of 700MW,” Masanja said in an interview with Reuters.
“If we start implementing it immediately, our earlier feasibility study can be updated in 2011 and we can start installing the first turbine in 2012. By 2015, the project could be completed and we could start enjoying 2 100MW of electricity," said Masanja.
Tanzania has energy demand close to 900 MW, but produces less than 800 MW. Only 14% of its 40 million people are hooked to the grid, while demand grows by 10 to 15% annually.