AS the construction of Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project gathers pace, human resources succession plan to maintain the plant and its sustainability is an important component that energy sector stakeholders are working on.
Arusha Technical College (ATC) has come up with a programme that will produce more than 600 artisans and technicians who will service the 6.5tri/- power project to ensure it produces 2,115 megawatt of electricity as planned plus other renewable projects, including but not limited to wind, solar and biomass.
According to the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project contract, the power station will be accomplished by mid 2022.
Being the strategy to address technical skills gap in the industry and energy sectors, Arusha Technical College is eyeing to install a 1.7 Megawatt power plant, at Kikuletwa in Hai District that will be used as a simulation centre for imparting technical skills for its students.
The Kikuletwa Renewable Energy Training and Research Centre is another ATC's campus specifically for energy training.
Speaking exclusively to the 'Daily News', Acting ATC Rector Dr Musa Chacha said his team toured the JNHPP in Rufiji to get a picture of technical skills gaps as they were planning to install a training facility at Kikuletwa.
"Visiting JNHPP was a must... we wanted to get a field experience and subsequently a reflection to our programme," Dr Chacha said.
Through the East Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Project (EASTRIP), the Arusha Technical College is expecting to train academic staff and students in the energy sector on hydropower; and other renewable energies including but not limited to biomass, wind and solar.
"Under East Africa Skills for Transformation & Regional Integration Project (EASTRIP), the Arusha Technical College, has received about 16.25 million US dollars to increase enrollment of students to 643 in the phase," EASTRIP project coordinator Engineer Sithole Mwakatage said.
Out of the said number, 30 per cent of the students who will be enrolled under EASTRIP programme will be female, a deliberate plan to address a gender gap in the field.
Eng Mwakatage said JNHPP was a mega project that would need more skilled people to ensure its sustainability hence ATC is set to mend the gap through EASTRIP.
Ms Jane Lissa, among ATC staff who visited the project, said that she had witnessed the progress of the mega-hydropower project as she opined that accomplishment of the JNHPP would ensure sustainability of the industrial economy.
Meanwhile, Acting Resident Project Engineer for JNHPP Lutengano Mwandambo said the contractor was in the finishing touches of diversion tunnels and the work would be accomplished by the end of October, this year.
Engineer Mwandambo added that excavation works at the area, where a powerhouse would be constructed, was progressing well.
The mega flagship development power project which is financed 100 per cent by the government at a cost of 6.55tri/-, commenced in June, last year and is set for completion in the next two years.
The 2,115 megawatts power project will be the fourth biggest dam in Africa and ninth globally.
Africa's largest dam is Ethiopia's Renaissance, which is under construction, with 6,450 megawatts expected upon completion in 2022.
Dr Kalemani told the parliament while tabling the 2020/21 budget estimates said the electricity generation rose to 1,601.84 megawatts as of April this year in comparison to 1,308 megawatts in 2015.
Works implemented during the 2019/20 since when it commenced in June, last year are namely construction of the main dam, and the diversion tunnel with the projection of being completed in June 2022.
Tabling 2020/21 budget estimates in the Parliament, the Energy Minister Dr Menard Kalemani said a total of 1.44tri/- was set aside for various works in the project including construction of tunnels and power house, as well as switch yard.
The project is constructed along the Rufiji River, Coast Region through a joint venture of Egyptian companies, Arab Contractors and El Sewedy Electric Co.