Tanzania plans $2 bln hydro plant with Brazil

Wed Dec 1, 2010 9:37am GMT

By Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Tanzania is planning with Brazil to build a power plant estimated to cost $2 billion that could transform east Africa's second largest economy into a net exporter of electricity, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Membe and other officials held talks with their Brazilian counterparts in Sao Paolo in September on the construction of the proposed 2,100 megawatt (MW) Stiegler's Gorge hydro-power station.

"The power plant to be constructed using Brazilian technology would generate excess power that could be exported to the east African and southern African power pools," Aloyce Masanja, director general of Tanzania's state-run Rufiji Basin Development Authority, told Reutes.

Masanja said the plant would be a source of cheap, abundant energy at a cost of around 2 U..S cents per kilowatt hour. It would help control flooding in the Rufiji area and create a reservoir with a total capacity of 34 billion cubic metres to supply the commercial capital Dar es Salaam and other regions.

Tanzania's chronic energy shortages have resulted in rolling power outages, undermining economic growth in the country.

The government is considering funding options for the project, including concessional loans, private investment or state financing,

Brazil will provide the technology to build the plant, and a government delegation from Brazil is expected in Dar es Salaam next month for further discussions on the project.

"The project would involve the installation of three giant underground turbines, each with the capacity of producing 700 megawatts of electricity," Masanja said in an interview.   Continued...

<p>General view of the largest hydroelectric power station in Russia and Eurasia, the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station on Yenisei river about 520 km (323 miles) south of Krasnoyarsk, October 7, 2004. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin CVI/DL</p>
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