Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station, the largest in Tanzania and East Africa

Home » Projects » Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station, the largest in Tanzania and East Africa

Construction of the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project (JNHPP) in Tanzania has reached 91.7%. This is according to the country’s Deputy Prime Minister Doto Biteko.

“The JNHPP project construction is progressing at a good pace. We are at the final stages of construction and we will soon supply enough electricity to the citizens,” said Dr Biteko, who doubles as Energy Minister.

“I would like to thank President Dr. Samia Suluhu Hassan for placing emphasis on this project. I would also like to congratulate the contractors as well as the TANESCO (Tanzania Electric Supply Company) which has been effectively supervising its implementation.

Filling the dam 

The Deputy Prime Minister Consulting Engineer Emmanuel Mwandambo said the dam has now been filled at a level of 164.8 cubic metres the equivalent of 14.6 million litres. According to Eng Mwandambo that amount of water can produce approximately 47.8% of the entire project production capacity.

Two months ago, the project reached 89% of the execution and their expectation was to reach 90%. In December last year, President Samia graced the opening ceremony of the JNHPP for the water filling for the envisioned generation of 2,115 megawatts (MW) of electricity.

Also Read: Julius Nyerere Hydropower plant in Tanzania Approaches Completion by Egyptian Consortium

Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station Project Overview

Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station; the largest in the East African Community (EAC) is a US $2.9bn project being constructed across the Rufiji River in eastern Tanzania.

The station is expected to have an installed capacity of 2,115MW and will 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 134 metres (440 ft) 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.

The project is owned and will be managed by the government-owned Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO). It 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 the generation and supply of reliable electricity for both domestic and industrial use.

The government of Ethiopia is advising the Tanzanian government on the implementation of this project. Construction of the fourth largest power station in Africa is expected to be completed in 2022.


The Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station project has received criticism from environmental experts because the location of the gorge is in the middle of the Selous Game Reserve World Heritage Site.

Conservationists are opposed to this project saying it threatens the endangered animal species in the area, especially the black rhinoceros and elephants.

Also Read: Julius Nyerere Hydropower plant in Tanzania Approaches Completion by Egyptian Consortium

Below is the project’s timeline and all you need to know.

Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station Timeline


In August, the Tanzanian government advertised for bids to construct this dam.


In October, the government awarded the design and construction contract for the power project to the Egyptian company Arab Contractors together with the Egyptian manufacturing company El Sewedy Electric, at the budgeted cost of US $2.9bn.

A new design for Stiegler’s Gorge Dam was unveiled. It was established that upon completion, this would be Africa’s largest dam by installed capacity (2,115MW).


In February, the government handed the construction site over to the contractors. However, actual construction did not start until the summer of 2019 because the contractors needed several months to mobilize construction equipment.

In April, the government made an upfront payment of about US $309.6m, taking care of approximately 15% total cost of construction.


As of June, the project was 40% complete.


By January, the bypass tunnel for the dam site was functional and excavation of the 50m deep dam base was in progress. The three head-race tunnels, which will supply nine penstocks for the nine turbines, were under construction. The nine turbines each have a capacity of 235MW. The foundation for the powerhouse was also in progress.

In April, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa announced that the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station project was 45% complete. Upon completion according to the PM,  the dam would be an avenue for Tanzania to get more revenue from increased clients both large factories as well as small users.

Aug 2021

Construction of Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station 45% complete

Construction of the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station; the largest in the East African Community (EAC) has reached 45%.

Julius Nyerere Hydro-Power Project, Tanzania: Excavation of power waterways 74% complete

The excavation works of three Power Water Ways, along the Rufiji River, have reached 74 per cent completion. This is according to the Project Manager, Eng. Said Kambanga, who also works with the Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (Tanesco). Through the waterways, water will flow to the powerhouse to help spin a total of nine turbines at the Julius Nyerere Hydro-Power plant.

Kambanga explained that the excavation of the Water Ways is an important stage in the project execution after the diversion of water from its ordinary route, followed by other important developments to support power generation.

The project manager affirmed that the excavation works are set to be completed by December 2021. He also emphasized that there are no foreseen setbacks to hinder the process. Furthermore, Kabanga said that the construction of the Power House will be finalized around the same time that the tunnelling works will be completed. As a result, this will make way for the pouring of concrete stage in both areas. This stage is expected to start in January next year.

First turbine installed at Julius Nyerere Hydroelectric project in Tanzania

In mid-August, Egypt’s Minister of Housing Assem El-Gazzar announced that the Egyptian consortium had begun installing the first turbine for the JNHPP.

The installed turbine is the first of nine, each with a capacity of 235MW. The total hydropower dam’s capacity stands at 2,115MW.

Also Read: Julius Nyerere Hydro-power Plant Second Turbine to be Activated

Late Aug 2021

Julius Nyerere Hydroelectric project to deliver first MW in June 2022

The Julius Nyerere Hydroelectric project is set to deliver its first power in June 2022. The Tanzanian government made the announcement and said the decision follows the project’s progress.

Minister of Energy, accompanied by Assem Gazzer said the project is already 62.7% complete. The focus is now on installing the turbines.

Aug 2021

First turbine installed at Julius Nyerere Hydroelectric project in Tanzania

The first turbine has been installed at the Julius Nyerere Hydroelectric project in Tanzania. Egypt’s Minister of Housing Assem El-Gazzar announced that officials from the Tanzanian Ministry of Energy as well as the project’s employer, witnessed the installation.

Sep 2021

Julius Nyerere Hydroelectric Dam:  27 transformers installed to increase transmission

Tanzania has started the installation of 27 transformers at the construction site of the JNHPP. The transformers will be used to increase the transmission voltage of the electricity produced by the power plant from 15 kV to approximately 400 kV.

This was revealed by the project’s Resident Engineer John Mageni from Tanroads Engineering Consultation Unit (TECU). Mageni made the revelation during a recent official tour of the project’s site. The tour was made by civil servants from the State House in addition to the Ministry of Public Service Management and Good Governance.

According to Eng. Mageni the construction of the powerhouse is ongoing. The powerhouse has a length of 305 meters, a width of 60 meters, and a height of 80 meters. The foundation work for the construction of the Switchyard has begun. The switchyard is where the electricity produced at the JNHPP will be connected to the national grid.

Other ongoing works

Eng. Mageni also mentioned other ongoing works. This includes the construction of the main dam as well as the construction of three power waterways. The main dam has a total length of 1,025 meters at crest level and a height of 131 meters. The waterways, on the other hand, have an average of 550 meters in length each. The power waterways will channel water to hydro turbines.

Additionally, he explained that Dongfang Electric is going on with the assembly and installation of nine electromechanical equipment. The equipment, comprising hydro-turbines, generators, excitation systems, and main inlet valves, will have the capacity to produce 235 Megawatts each.

“Already six of these electromechanical equipment have arrived at the site and two of them have been installed. Others are in the preparations of being installed,” expounded the resident engineer. The works also include the construction of a permanent bridge over the Rufiji River. The bridge will be 250 meters high and 12 meters wide.

Dec 2022

Julius Nyerere Hydropower project begins water filling

Julius Nyerere Hydropower Project in Tanzania has advanced to the next phase of development. This comes after President Suluhu presided over the opening of the diversion channel that would direct water into the dam. The volume of water diverted into the reservoir, which is required for the generation of electricity, makes the diversion important.

According to to Energy Minister January Makamba thus far the dam is 78% complete. He disclosed this while he was speaking on the construction site. According to him, the dam, will be used to generate water for the project, measures roughly 916 km2. Given its massive size, he continued, it will be more of a lake than a dam. Furthermore, Makamba claimed that Elsewedy Electric Ltd. and Arab Contractors, have already been paid US$ 1.92bn by the Tanzanian government.

President Samia’s opening of the diversion channel marks a huge milestone in the project’s implementation. The remaining step is to switch on the turbines so that power generation can begin later.

Also Read: Julius Nyerere Hydroelectric project to deliver first MW in June 2022

1 thought on “Julius Nyerere Hydropower Station, the largest in Tanzania and East Africa”

  1. The construction of JNHP Plant will significantly reduce if not eliminating completely the current problem of power shortage. There is no significant environmental impacts as claimed by some environmental experts, because after driving the turbines the diverted water will be returned into the river in the downstream. The black rhino and elephant will shift into the downstream and continue with their normal life. Moreover, the river channel between the penstock and outlet will always contain water due to spillover, when the dam is completely filled up.

Comments are closed.