Residents of Rufiji District in Coast Region and Tanzanians in general expect to benefit immensely from the Nyerere Hydropower Project (NHPP).
Previously known as the Stigler Gorge Project, the NHPP has been designed to produce 2,115MW of electricity.
The project will also have other benefits to the communities around the project site.
The project is being undertaken within the northern part of what is now Selous Game Reserve at Matambwe.
Tanzania currently produces 1,450MW of electricity and an addition of 2,115MW from the NHPP will see the country produce more power its current requirements, which is a critical ingredient in the envisioned economic transformation.
Implementation of this grant project has been prioritized by the fifth phase government as a way of honouring Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s idea mooted in 1980s to produce power from Stigler Gorge, is put into practice.
Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s desire was to build a major hydropower plant in the area. In 1976, Tanzania Government in collaboration with Norway contracted Norplan & Hafslundof Norway to conduct a feasibility study on the project, which was completed in 1980.
The feasibility study assessed the entire project which involved production of electricity from the Stigler Gorge, controlling floods and improving agriculture at the lower Rufiji Valley as well as promoting fisheries and tourism activities.
It is the feasibility study which established that a 2.115MW hydropower plant can be constructed in the area. Earlier plans were to roll out the project in three phases starting with production of 400MW before production of 800MW in the second phase and 900MW in the third and final phase.
Then, the cost of the project was estimated at $1,380 million. However, the project was not implemented because electricity needs by then were very small. The country was using only 100MW of electricity.
Nyerere Hydropower Project
Rufiji valley is the largest valley in Tanzania. Rufiji valley covers 177,000 square kilometres and it starts in Southwest part of the country and traverses all the way to Indian Ocean.
The upper Rufiji River is fed by various rivers including Kilombero River, which contributes 65 percent of water, Ruaha River which pours in 15 percent of water, Luwegu River which contributes 19 per cent and the remaining one percent comes from small rivers.
Nyerere Hydropower project is located along Latitude S70 48’ and Longitude E 370 51’ within Selous Game Reserve, which is the largest reserve in the country covering 50,000 square kilometres. Several years ago SGR was declared the World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The base of the valley is found in the border between Morogoro and Coast Regions.
On December 12, 2018, at State House in Dar es Salaam before President, Dr John Magufuli and Republic of Egypt Prime Minister, Dr Mostafa Madbouly, TANESCO signed a deal with consortium of Egypt companies, Arab Contractors and Jv Elsewedy Electric, which won the tender to construct Nyerere Hydropower Project.
TANESCO handed the project area to the contractor on February 14, 2019. The contractors are supposed to complete the construction in 42 months which includes six months for mobilization and 36 months for construction.
On July 26, 2019 President Dr Magufuli laid a foundation stone for the project and the construction work is going on at great speed.
Tasks which were undertaken before the commencement of the project are construction of facilitative infrastructure which are 32Kv power transmission line, water and telephone networks.
Another task is construction of Kibiti – Mkongo – Mloka –Stigler Gorge road at gravel level and a special area at FugaTazara Station for offloading of equipment which will be used during construction.
General objective of the project
The major objective of the project is to improve power generation from cheap hydro source so as to help the country in its economic transformation initiatives.
Specific objectives of the project
· To prepare a site for construction of a 2.155 MW hydroelectricity generation plant.
· Construction of a water dam with length of 1,025 metres and 131 metres height with seven spillway gates to control floods and for releasing water for users in the lower Rufiji valley residents.
· Construction of four walls in the dam, three tunnels which will be send water to the turbines which will generate electricity, another diversion tunnel for diverting water during construction, construction of a bridge across Rufiji River, four rooms for turbines with capacity to generate 235MW and construction of two 400Kv transmission lines – Chalinze RHPP (60km) and Kibiti RHHP (174km).
· Construction of a 400Kv power station which will connect the power from NHPP to the national grid as well as construction of worker houses and roads in the project site.
· The project also involves construction of 162km of 400Kv transmission line from the project area to Chalinze and 220Kv power line as well as power stations.
· Construction of a 181km 400Kv transmission line from Chalinze to Segera, another 342km 4Kv transmission line from Chalinze to Dodoma and a 162km 220Kv transmission line from Segera to Tanga.
Management of the project policy
Development of the NHPP is being managed by the Energy Policy of 2015 which set a target of enabling the country to reach 75 percent of power distribution by 2025. The major national objective is in line with the global target of ensuring power availability to all people.
The policy states that special precaution should be taken in expanding power generation from alternative energy sources which are abundantly available in the country.
The cost of this project is Sh6.558 trillion. The money will be paid by Tanzanians themselves. Until now, the government has already paid Sh983.7 billion which is equivalent to 15 percent of the project cost.
Improving relations between the two sides
Relations between Tanzania and Egypy started long time ago. It is one of strong relations between countries anchored on various activities which these countries are executing. Steps taken by President Dr Magufuli and his Egypt counterpart, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who visited Tanzania and started talks on the issue of River Nile water use show that all two countries value the relations.
Relations between the two countries are also in other areas such as commerce and construction. On construction sector, JV of Arab Contractors and El Sewedy Electric headquartered in Cairo are happy to be part of the NHPP and contribute to Tanzanians dreams on the grand project being among the best companies trusted to undertake the work.