Tanzania to invest US$300m in its first geothermal power plant

Olkaria geothermal power plant Kenya
Olkaria geothermal power plant Kenya

Tanzania is planning to invest in geothermal power at Lake Ngozi in Mbeya, in a bid to shift focus from hydro. The first geothermal power plant to be constructed from next year will be a milestone for alternative power sources in the country.

The venture, which is being led by African Development Bank (AfDB) as financiers, will unlock the country’s potential for geothermal power according to Emeka Oragunye, the principal energy specialist at AfDB.

The new power plant will generate 5, 000MW and is part of AfDB’s plan in financing renewables through the scaling-up renewable energy programme (SREP). The country has received US$ 45million from AfDB and US $25 million from SREP.

The country will also seek to develop other 50 geothermal potential spots – which will be crucial in the shift from hydro and private oil-fired power generation by the state-run Tanesco. It will also be critical in the planned addition of 10, 000 MW into the grid by 2025, up from the current 2, 780MW. Tanzania’s hydropower has been affected by recurring droughts.

Chief executive officer at Geological Survey of Tanzania Mr. Abdulkarim Mruma has said the heat under Lake Ngozi – 200 degrees centigrade – is sufficient to generate power.

Tanzania will also join Ethiopia and Kenya, who have previously invested in geothermal power plants.

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