The East African and other media outlets have been reporting on the ambitious new investment plans being drawn up which should fairly soon see a dramatic improvement in production of energy – and hopefully an end to the energy crisis.

In what African Report described as the largest ever single Chinese investment in Tanzania, an agreement worth $3 billion (about TShs 4.8 trillion) has been signed to develop the Mchuchuma coal and Liganga iron ore projects (The Citizen). The NDC will hold a 20% stake with the Chinese firm holding the remaining 80%. The projects will be implemented in two phases – the first phase will entail laying the groundwork at Mchuchuma and eventual mining of coal to be used in generating electricity, while the second phase will involve exploration and extraction of iron ore from Liganga.

Symbion is set to supply 205 MW to the national power grid in support of the government’s emergency power plan. Under the firm’s expansion plan, Symbion would import more than 205 MW of generating equipment, adding new power to the grid incrementally from October, and the full 205 MW capacity will be available to Tanesco by the end of the year (The Guardian).

The country has borrowed $63.4 million from the Export Import Bank of Korea which will help to build a power transmission line which will link future sources of electricity in the south of Tanzania with the north of the country.

Plans are being drawn up for a huge 2,100 MW new electricity plant at Stiegler’s Gorge in the Rufiji River Basin. It will be built using Brazilian technology and will be developed by Brazil’s Odebrecht company.

A Norwegian power engineering company has signed an agreement for a 100 MW turnkey project at Ubungu (using natural gas) in Dar and another at Nyakato near Mwanza (using heavy fuel oil). Finance totalling $530 million is coming from HSBC in Norway to support 15% from the government. Power is due to be switched on by June 2012.

Tanzania has also secured a $250 million dollar loan from a consortium of local and global financial institutions, including the Standard Bank of South Africa, to fund rural roads and production of electricity.

Finally, Tanzania has signed production sharing agreements ($75 million) with two oil companies to explore for oil and gas at Lake Rukwa and Nyuni East Songo Songo.

The blame
Rice farmers in the Ruaha River Basin have been blamed for the ongoing power crisis. The principal engineer at the Mtera Dam has claimed that uncontrolled rice farming is behind the decreased water flow into the dam.

Judie and Thomas Mwarabu have sent us the following weather warning published by the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) in Mwananchi in September which was partially vindicated by a week of early and heavy rain in mid-October:

TMA predicted that several areas of the country could face serious disasters such as floods, soil erosion and major damage to the infrastructure and environment during the short rains (vuli) between October and December. Other areas, which would not suffer from the effects of flooding, are expected to be faced with food shortages and perhaps famine due to insufficient rainfall. TMA has for the first time not only published this information in a highly professional way, but has also made clear which areas are threatened and gone on to make recommendations to deal with them. The government was advised to prepare itself thoroughly by designing strategies and creating new ways of protecting the economy of the country, by putting pressure on the Disasters Corps to ensure the preparation of sufficient and up-to-date supplies of all kinds, including air, road and waterborne transport, tents, blankets, medicines and rescue equipment.

People complain that Tanzania has repeatedly suffered from such disasters but they come again and again because the government has not learned from them.

The Tanesco monopoly on power production might be abolished, according to a report in Tanzania Daima. The government was said to have plans to amend current electricity laws to allow private companies to produce and supply. Minister of Finance Mustapha Mkulo said that “Currently we have power producers who remain with excess energy but they cannot sell it on to neighbouring communities. The new amendments will allow them mechanisms to sell it”.

The dependence of energy supplies on rainfall was demonstrated once again by the following report (slightly abridged) from The Guardian of 7th October before the very heavy rains mentioned above. By early October, hydropower generation at the major dams, Mtera and Kidatu, had been drastically reduced as water levels dwindled even further, President Kikwete admitted. This was after the President was informed that the Kidatu plant, with a capacity to generate 200 megawatts, was producing only 40 MW and the Mtera plant was generating only 30 MW while it has the capacity to produce 80 MW. The Kihansi plant was producing 90 MW against 180 MW, Nyumba ya Mungu 3.5 MW against 8 MW and New Pangani 20 MW against 68 MW. The country was relying on electricity from Songas – generating 182 MW, Ubungo 100 MW, Tegeta 45 MW and Symbion 70 MW.


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