Arusha — Tanzania and Ethiopia governments are in final arrangements to sign a 400-megawatt power purchase agreement on the sidelines of the next Eastern African Power Pool (EAPP) talks in Tanzania.
"The project aims at enabling East African Community (EAC) member states to identify sources of cheap electricity for increased power interchanges. Ethiopia has made progress in hydropower generation and is also endowed with abundant renewable energy resources.
"These include untapped geothermal, solar and wind energy. At the moment Ethiopia is generating 6,000 megawatts, which can be accessible to neighbouring states," Felchesmi Mramba, the Managing Director of the Tanzanian power utility company (TANESCO) said last week.
Mramba, said the official signing of the power pact with Ethiopia would be preceded by the EAPP meeting in Arusha bringing together representatives, including lawyers, from all the member states.
Countries forming the Eastern Africa Power Pool include Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eritrea and Tanzania. Mramba said installation of power generation and transmission facilities would not only foster economic integration but also cater for the region's power needs for the next 25 years.
Mramba said, "Interconnection of the power systems entails synchronisation of electricity supply services such that an area of power, abundance would offset shortages in another country, and vice-versa. Studies in 2009 established the technical and economic viability of the project to meet population growth demand" Ethiopia, through the Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) authorities, has been exporting electricity to neighbouring countries like Djibouti and Sudan, and a transmission line to Kenya is already under construction. Burundi and Rwanda have also shown interest in importing energy from Ethiopia.
Tanzania's hydropower system comprises the six hydro plants of Mtera, Kidatu, Hale, Pangani Falls, Nyumba ya Mungu and Kihansi. The country is equally endowed with other sources of energy, namely natural gas, geothermal, wind and diesel- powered engines. The largest thermal plant is located at Ubungo and is fired by natural gas from Songo Songo. The country currently produces about 1,700 megawatts.
Since the implementation of identifying projects in the East African Power Master Plan, funded by the NEPAD- Infrastructure Project Preparatory facility (NEPAD-IPPF) through the African Development Bank (AfDB), the concept has adopted a public-private-partnership (PPP) approach.