Hydro, gas to power Tanzania

Tanzania is set to begin construction on the 1,200MW-capacity Stiegler’s Gorge Hydro power plant this summer, after overcoming objections from environmentalists about the potential impact to game reserves. The country also announced that the 240MW-capacity, gas-powered Kinyerezi II plant began operating this month.

Construction on the hydro power plant, located in the Selous Game Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is set to begin in July and take 36 months to complete. The Kinyerezi II plant was built by Sumitomo Corp. for $353.7 million.

Combined, the projects will more than double Tanzania’s power capacity, which was estimated at 1,264MW for the entire country in 2017.

“Tanzania has made progress in grid expansion, increasing generation capacity with natural gas, facilitating an enabling environment for solar home systems, and publishing of new standard Power Purchase Agreement for small producers 2017; but more progress is needed to provide adequate and reliable electricity,” according to USAID’s Power Africa program.

The country has one of the lowest electricity access rates in Africa, estimated at 32 percent by Power Africa.  Tanzania’s vast gas resources and potential for hydropower are key drivers to meeting its goal of achieving universal electricity access by 2030. The government has continuously expressed its desire to invest in gas-fired and hydro power plants, not only to power Tanzania, but to export power to the region. Development organizations like Power Africa and the World Bank are supporting several power projects in the country, including gas transmission pipelines and transmission lines.

Tanzania Power Capacity

Total Installed Capacity: 1,264 MW
Hydroelectric: 568 MW
Thermal: 685.4 MW
Other Renewables: 82.4 MW

Source: Power Africa