Tanzania`s energy sources are set to be further diversified after announcement by a firm currently engaged in exploration of plans to produce 100 megawatts of geothermal power by 2014.
Graeme Robertson whose Geothermal Power (Tanzania) Limited is currently conducting exploration in Mbeya Region, said at a press conference in Dar es Salaam yesterday that drilling of the geothermal wells would commence in twelve months time along the Ngozi volcanic area in the region.
Partners in geothermal Power Tanzania Limited are the National Development Corporation (NDC), and the Tanzania Mining Company (interstate Mining and Mineral Limited) and Mauritius-based Geothermal Power Limited.
He said that geothermal power was a reliable alternative source of energy that would fix some problems for Tanesco in power production.
Robertson said initial capital of the venture was 5 million dollars which is equivalent to 8 billion Tanzania shillings, adding that the project would minimise the problems of power rationing in the country.
“We have embarked on geotechnical, geological and drilling work. This process is environmentally friendly and we expect to offer a solution to the problems of power rationing which was experienced in the past few months” said Robertson.
He explained that his company targeted Mbeya because the region lies in the lift valley and it is a volcanic region. He said exploration and drilling were being conducted along the Mbaka and Livingstone faults.
“We expect these two areas to produce some 10 megawatts which we believe would also benefit some 5000 villagers around the area,” he said.
NDC officials said the partnership will benefit not only from power supply but also technology.
Recent geological surveys have provided evidence that Malawi, Mozambique and the United Republic of Tanzania have a huge potential for geothermal energy, which could reduce heavy reliance on hydropower and fossil fuel in the region.
According to an assessment by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Environment Facility, there are 4,000 Megawatts (MW) of geothermal electricity ready for harvesting along the Rift Valley.