By Sa’ad Bashir, in Dar es Salaam
Tanzania is on the way to becoming a gas-fired economy. Six hydroelectric stations currently deliver 561MW (or 56.1%) of the country’s installed electricity generating capacity of 1,000MW.
Thermal generation, today, accounts for 440MW of electricity, with 205MW being diesel powered.
But the Mtwara-Dares Salaam gas pipeline, gas processing plants at Madimba in Mtwara and Songo Songo Island in Lindi, as well as two phases of the Kinyerezi Power Plant, will ultimately lead to additional 390MW of gas fired electricity, by 2016.
The 560km pipeline as well as the first phase of the Kinyerezi plant, with a capacity of around 150MW, have more certainty about their on-stream date. Government authorities expect them to be commissioned by December 2014. Every single pipe for the gas line, every turbine of the Kinyeri Power Plant that arrives at the ports is celebrated in the local media. There has been less public disclosure about the completion date of the gas processing plants, without which the gas pipeline would be, well, just that, a pipeline.
The major component of the 440MW Thermal generated supply is the 102MW Ubongo Gas to Power plant, constructed by the Finnish power supplier Wartsilla. The plant uses natural gas from the Songo songo field as a source of fuel. The Plant is installed with twelve generating units each with a capacity of 8.73MW totaling an installed capacity of 104 MW. The available capacity for twelve generating units is 102.5 MW. The Plant is interconnected with the National Grid through Ubungo National Grid Substation.