TANZANIA will in the next three years become the leading power producer and supplier in the East African region following the fifth phase government bold move to implement the Julius Nyerere Hydropower project along Rufiji River in the Coast Region.
The mega flagship development power project which is financed 100 per cent by the government at a cost of 6.55tri/-, commenced in June last year and is set for completion in the next two years.
The 2,115 megawatts power project will be the fourth biggest dam in Africa and ninth in the world. Africa’s largest dam is Ethiopia’s Renaissance, which is under construction, with 6,450 megawatts expected upon completion in 2022.
The Mambira Dam in Nigeria follows second with 3,050 megawatts ahead of Ethiopian Shaika Dam that produces 2,160MW.
The Aswan Dam in Egypt, with 2,100 megawatts comes fifth in the ranking, beating Raula Dam in Angola, which produces 2,066 megawatts.
The Energy Minister Dr Medard Kalemani said recently that the government has already paid 1.19tri/- out of the total cost, which is 100 per cent of the amount stated in the contract for the initial period.
The Julius Nyerere Hydropower project is expected to transform the energy sector and guarantee the country with sufficient energy necessary for speeding up development of other economic sectors particularly the industrialisation drive.
The power project which is constructed by a joint venture of Egyptian companies, Arab Contractors and El Sewedy Electric Co is expected to double electricity generation.
Dr Kalemani told the parliament while tabling the 2020/21 budget estimates said the electricity generation rose to 1,601.84 megawatts as of April this year in comparison to 1,308 megawatts in 2015.
Works implemented during the 2019/20 since when it commenced in June last year are namely construction of the main dam, and the diversion tunnel with the projection of being completed in June 2022.
The Energy Minister said a total of 1.44tri/- has been set aside during 2020/21 fiscal year and works to be executed include the main dam and spillways), tunnels and power house as well switch yard.
A total of 3,897 people have been employed out of whom 3,422 are Tanzania, which is 87.81 per cent and 475 employees are foreigners equivalent to 12.19 per cent of all employees.
About 6,000 Tanzanians will be employed during the project implementation.
The project that is constructed along the Rufiji River, Coast Region, by a joint venture of Egyptian companies, Arab Contractors and El Sewedy Electric Co.
Electricity supply in Tanzania goes beyond household use for lighting homes, charging phones or powering household appliances such as radios and TVs but is intended to spur economic growth.
To grow Tanzania’s economy requires productive use of energy to power local businesses, provide better health and education services and drive agriculture production.
Over the years the power sector of Tanzania has been dominated by hydropower and at the moment about 45 per cent of power generated comes from hydropower dam.
The sufficient electricity to be generated from the Julius Nyerere Dam is expected to save almost 400 hectares of trees felled annually for charcoal and firewood as well as unsustainable agricultural practices.
However, cutting down trees means that rain water cannot sink into the ground, hence, when it rains water goes straight to the rivers then into the ocean.
Tabling the budget speech for the 2020/21 fiscal year, the Finance and Planning Minister Dr Philip Mpango said the commencement of construction of an historic project of Julius Nyerere Hydropower (2,115 MW) at Rufiji River is one of the notable achievements in the implementation of energy infrastructure projects.
Implementation of the Julius Nyerere Hydropower project has been prioritized by the fifth phase government as a way of the Founding Father of the nation Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s idea to produce power from Stigler Gorge.
The Founding father of the nation’s quest to build a major hydropower plant in the area got new impetus in 1976 when Tanzania in collaboration with Norway contracted Norplan& Hafslundof Norway conducted feasibility study on the project, which was completed in 1980.
Rufiji valley is the largest valley in the country that covers 177,000 square kilometres and it starts in Southwest part of the country and traverses all the way to Indian Ocean.
The upper Rufiji River is fed by various rivers including Kilombero River, which contributes 65 percent of water, Ruaha River that pours in 15 percent of water, Luwegu River with 19 per cent and the remaining one percent comes from small rivers.
Source: Daily News