The long-awaited implementation of Stiegler’s Gorge hydroelectric power project will now officially start in the 2012/2013 financial year, the government confirmed yesterday.
The 2100MW capacity project is expected to start by generating 700MW in the first two years.
Energy and Minerals minister William Ngeleja said this yesterday during the official visit to Rufiji Basin Development Authority (Rubada) offices in Dar es Salaam.
Ngeleja said the plants to be constructed would fulfill the needs of electricity for all power users whose demand currently stands at 750MW.
Explaining, he said the project will have three different plants all of which will be operational by 2025.
He said the project, which is located inside the heritage area, would cost USD2bn, adding that the government has so far entered into joint venture with Odebrecht Construction International of Brazil for funding the project.
The Tanzanian government is expected to inject some funds while the remaining balance would be provided by Brazilian banks he said.
Besides the funds to be issued by Brazil, the government will set aside funds in the 2012/2013 financial year to be used for compensation and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
“This is not a ghost project…Tanzanians will see it kicking off this July,” he insisted.
The project delay, Ngeleja said, was due to multiple challenges including those related to environmental impacts.
He said most of the challenges have been solved by the government in collaboration with the stakeholders whereas the world environment organisation has okayed the project implementation.
According to the minister, the country’s power demand from the national grid may increase to 1500MW per day by 2015, much of which has to come from Stiegler’s Gorge.
He however said that implementation of the gas project will start in the next fiscal year, adding that the project will be implemented by the ministry in collaboration with other stakeholders from China.
A single gas pipeline, he said, will have the capacity to generate 3900MW of electric power, adding that by 2015 the country will manage to fulfill all its power needs and sell the extra to neighbouring countries.
For his part, Rubada Managing Director Eng Aloyce Masanja said the basin has six areas that can generate power, adding that Stigler’s Gorge is the biggest. He said once completed Stigler’s Gorge will end power problems in the country.
Eng Masanja said besides hydro electric power production, the project wwould benefit many other sectors, including agriculture, tourism and water supply.
He said Rubada has already agreed to work in collaborate with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).