The Tanzanian Minister of Energy and Minerals, Prof. Sospeter Muhongo, has recently committed the Tanzania Geothermal Development Company (TGDC) to start with drilling activities in Lake Ngozi in Mbeya region in southern Tanzania by June, 2016, to set the basis for the construction of power plants for geothermal generation.
The drilling activities are in line with TGDC plans to add to the country’s current capacity installed of 1,754 MW, a total of 100 MW by 2020, 500 MW by 2022 and 800 MW by 2025 with the support of Toshiba Corporation (TYO:6502) that will be in charge of the development and provision of major equipment for geothermal power generation, creation of guidelines for plant operation and management as training of personnel as well.
Tanzania cannot wait longer due to the electricity shortage that the country is currently experiencing and must tap its vast geothermal resources, which cover huge areas compared with other countries in the region, explained Prof. Muhongo.
The water in Lake Ngozi oscillates between 230 and 250 Celsius degrees, which are enough for electricity generation and could make the lake one of the most important sources of renewable electricity in the country, Prof. Muhongo added.
Three foreign companies have already shown interest in investing in Tanzania’s geothermal energy generation and they as well as other potential investors that would like to invest in this area, will count with the support of Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) to exploit the country’s geothermal resources, Prof. Muhongo stressed.
According to TGDC, Tanzania has a geothermal electricity generation potential up to 5,000 MW thanks to its strategic position between the eastern and western arms of the East African Rift Valley, which has given Tanzania the third largest geothermal resources in Africa following Kenya and Ethiopia with approximately 10,000 MW.
However, renewable energy does not play an important role yet on Tanzania’s power generation capacity since the only source accounting for the 1,754 MW of capacity installed in national grid is biomass with 1.5% of the total according to Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (TANESCO).