Dodoma — TANZANIA has shortlisted five companies for the construction of East Africa's largest hydropower dam along the Rufiji River in the heart of one of Africa's largest remaining wild areas - the Selous game reserve
. The 2,100-MW Rufiji Hydropower Project which is expected to power the country's emerging industries and export its surplus to the rest of East African countries, is expected to be commissioned any time from now. Chief Government Spokesperson, Dr Hassan Abbas told a press conference that 17 companies had expressed interest but only five submitted documents for evaluation.
"We are carefully evaluating all the five submissions especially in the area of technical and financial capabilities," he said. The government official said the first tender which was announced late last year involved companies that did not meet the set expectations.
"We had to call for more bidders and now I can confirm that we have five companies ready to work," said. No details were released from the government as of yesterday regarding names of the companies under scrutiny.
But Dr Abbas said categorically, that the state was scouting for the best firm to execute the job on one of the 1982 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation named list of World Heritage.
Details from the Ministry of Energy show that construction of this hydro facility would involve building a main dam and appurtenant structures, with expected reservoir length of 100 km, covering an area of about 1,350 square km.
The dam height is about 134 metres. Rufiji will have an installed capacity of at least 2,100 MW, with a minimum guaranteed annual firm energy of 5,920 GWh, the ministry says. The facility will include a 400-KV switch yard. The ministry anticipates that the facility will contain vertical Francis turbines, each with a capacity of 200 MW to 300 MW.
Dr Abbas said it was the government's expectation to ensure the country generates sufficient and reliable power to electrify its domestic and export demands. He further noted that expansion work at the natural gas powered Kinyerezi I and II were at different stages of completion.
He said the extension work at Kinyerezi I would add up 185 MW in the national grid while the Kinyerezi II would raise the total in the state electric grid to 240 MW. "We have already released 111.88 MW in the national grid from Kinyerezi II, we hope to commission at least 30 MW every month until we reach the 240 MW mark," he said.
According to the director, implementation of both projects were at 60 and 90 per cent. Kinyerezi II would be completed by September, three months earlier than the initial deadline of December this year. Tanzania, whose population is approximately 53 million, has 1,400 MW of installed grid capacity