PREPARATIONS for the envisaged 2,100 megawatts Rufiji Hydropower plant at Stiegler's Gorge are progressing well with all supporting infrastructure for the mega project in place.
The Project Execution Committee Chairman, Mr Juma Iddi, informed the Energy Minister Dr Medard Kalemani that much of the preparatory work for the power plant was complete by 100 per cent, with only small final touches being finalised.
Mr Iddi cited some of the completed works as laying of overhead power line from Msamvu to Pangawe and from Dakawa to the boarder of Selous Game Reserve in Morogoro.
"Other preparatory works include setting up of electricity power cooling stations at Pangawe and Dakawa and supply of water to the construction sites," Mr Iddi informed the minister.
After getting the briefing, Minister Kalemani urged the committee to ensure the remaining work is timely completed to enable the project contractor to get down to business.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy, Dr Hamisi Mwinyimvua, tasked the committee to work on all directives by the ministry to ensure the work is completed on time.
The Commissioner for Electricity and Renewable Energy, Engineer Innocent L uoga mentioned some of the infrastructure already constructed as electricity, water, roads, airstrips, health facilities as well as residential and office buildings.
The 2,100MW Rufiji hydropower project is planned on Rufiji River in Stielger's Gorge, Selous Game Reserve of Tanzania. With a gross output of 5,920GWh, the plant will double the country's total generation capacity, upon commissioning.
Construction on the project was scheduled to commence in the second half of 2018 and is expected to take 36 months to complete, with commissioning expected by the end of 2021.
Tanzania Electricity Supply Company (TANESCO), which operates under the ministry, is undertaking the project. The government opened the bidding for construction of Stiegler's Gorge hydroelectric plant in 2017.
Tanzania's budget proposal unveiled in May 2018 earmarked 307 million US dollars (over 700bn/-) for the project, which will include the construction of a roller compacted concrete (RCC) dam on the Rufiji river.
The 134-metre dam will have the storage capacity of 34 million cubic metres of water. The reservoir will be 100-kilometre long and 1,350 square kilometres in area while the earth embankment will be 3.7 million cubic metres.
The powerhouse will be above-ground and consist of nine vertical Francis turbines with capacity ranging from 200MW to 300MW each, and power generators with the capacity of 1,200MW each.
Power transformers of 235- 353MVA each and having combined capacity of 2,470MVA will be installed. The plant will also include a 400kV switch yard.
Additional infrastructure will include electric switch gears, protection system and fire detection system along with auxiliary power supply, DC systems, cooling and sewage systems.
Construction of the 10-kilometre internal roads, 15-kilometre long residential roads, 350 permanent houses and 3,000 secondary houses is also part of the project.
Tanzania, the sixth most populous country in the sub-Saharan Africa, has been facing chronic power shortage with just 40 per cent of the country's million population having access to electricity.
The country's current installed capacity is 1.6GW, which comprises 41.7 per cent hydro, 44.7 per cent natural gas, 12.8 per cent of liq uid-fuel and 0.8 per cent biomass- based power generation.