IMPLEMENTATION of the envisaged Stiegler's Gorge hydro power project is gradually taking shape following completion and submission of a proposal for the same.
The proposal by Odebrecht International was presented to Rufiji Basin Development Authority (RUBADA) over the weekend in Dar es Salaam. It followed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between RUBADA and the Brazilian dam construction company six months ago.
"This is a very crucial stage," RUBADA Director General, Mr Aloyce Masanja told journalists after receiving the proposal in an event that was witnessed by both Odebrecht and government officials.
According to Mr Masanja, the proposal will now give a clear picture on the implementation of the project.The proposal touches mainly on Power Market Overview, Engineering Studies and Technical Proposal, Preliminary Social-Environmental Evaluation, Key Stakeholders, Stage One Risk Analysis and Financial Structure and Proposed Business Plan.
According to Mr Masanja, the project financial requirement is at the tune of 2 billion US dollars but the figure may vary depending on technology used to be agreed at a later stage.
RUBADA as a public institution is allowed by law to generate and supply hydroelectric power in the basin and will partner with Odebrecht, a private entity in the form of Public Private Partnership (PPP).
"The project is multipurpose by nature and will benefit various sectors including agriculture, energy, fisheries, flood control and tourism," he said.Once completed, the project will have the potential to produce 2100 megawatts of electricity.
The Brazilian company reviewed feasibility study that was earlier conducted by a Norwegian company, NORCONSULT in 1980 on the same project but was later shelved.
The next stage after reviewing the proposal will be designing and doing Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) while the third stage will be commencement of construction.
On his part, the Brazilian company's New Business Director, Mr Fernando Soares, said that his company understands the importance of the project, not only for Tanzania but for the whole region.
"We are proud to be part of such an important endeavour," he said.He said that Odebrecht can provide great value to their clients bringing the necessary engineering and construction expertise, as well as proven local knowledge and motivation to pursue a well-balanced contractual relationship.
Chairman of RUBADA Board of Directors, Prof Raphael Mwalyosi said the Brazilian company has done a commendable job.The Brazilian Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Fransisco Luz, said that his country is very proud that Tanzania has decided to have a Brazilian experience in the area of dam construction.
It is estimated that the Stiegler's electricity will be of among the smallest production cost in Africa standing at 4 US cents per a kilowatt hour, including tax.
"There are more than enough reasons for stakeholders to support this project," he said.
Odebrecht Company Limited is reputed to be involved in big and successful construction of big hydropower projects in the world. It was involved in construction of the world's second power project found in Brazil with the capacity to produce 14,000 MW.
The whole of the Rufiji Basin has the potential to produce 4,000 MW.