Tanzania gets $27m for power

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania – Tanzania has received about $27 million for a new electricity transmission line to benefit nearly over 30,000 households.

The line is being funded by a grant from the German government. It will cover the regions of Geita to Nyakanazi in north-west Tanzania and provide access to electricity for 32,500 rural households.

The German Embassy said in a statement last week, the power line will connect the regional 80 Megawatts hydropower project at Rusumo Falls to the national grid.

Once implemented, the statement reads: “The project will enable exchange of power with the neighboring countries of Rwanda and Burundi, thus enhance regional integration and stability of power supply.”

Tanzania, which currently imports around 14MW of electricity from its neighbours and suffers from chronic shortages, is poised to become a net power exporter within the next two years.

“We are on course to start power exports in 2015 because of the surplus electricity that we will be producing after the completion of the ongoing pipeline construction,” Prof Sospeter Muhongo, the Minister for Energy and Minerals said. 

Prof Muhongo was recently inspecting construction work of the 532 kilometer pipeline on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam. 

He said Kenya had made enquiries about importing some 1,000MW of electricity from Tanzania.

Tanzania has 43.1 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas reserves and anticipates that will rise fivefold within the next two years if new finds prove productive.

Last July the country also revised its coal reserves to 5 billion tons from about 1.5 billion tons, and said it plans to use coal and gas for power generation.

So far, Tanzania has so far licensed 16 international energy companies to search for oil and gas.

British gas firm BG Group , Norway’s Statoil, Brazil’s Petrobras, Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil Corp are among companies already operating in Tanzania.

The new natural gas pipeline from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam which is being funded by a $1.2 billion Chinese loan, is expected to be completed by December 2014. This will enable the country to double its power generation capacity to 3,000 MW.