CONSTRUCTION of the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station, the largest in the East African Community (EAC), has reached 45 percent. The $2.9bn project is expected to add 2,115MW to the national grid.
The hydropower station, which is being constructed across the Rufiji River in eastern Tanzania, is expected to produce 5,920GWh of power annually. The power generated will be evacuated via a new 400kV high voltage power line to a substation where the power will be integrated into the national electricity grid. The government of Ethiopia is advising the Tanzanian government on the implementation of this project.
The project is expected to enhance access to affordable electricity which will propel economic growth as well as attract investment in the country. It will also transform the country through generation and supply of reliable electricity for both domestic and industrial use.
The project, which is being undertaken by Arab Contractors and Elsewedy Electric, is owned and will be managed by the state-owned Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO).
According to Energy Minister Kassim Majaliwa, the largest hydropower station in EAC is an avenue for Tanzania to get more revenue from increased clients both large factories as well as small users. ‘The increase in electricity production will help the government achieve one of its major goals, to supply electricity to all regions of the country including rural areas,’ he said.
The 134 metres arched, concrete dam is expected to create a reservoir lake, 100 kilometres (62 mi), in length, measuring 1,200 square kilometres (460 sq mi), with 34,000,000,000 cubic metres (1.2×1012 cu ft) of water.
In April 2019, the Tanzanian government made an upfront payment of about $309 million, representing 15 of the total total cost of construction.