Africa, Business, Dam Design and Construction, New Development

2,115-MW Rufiji hydro project construction launched in Tanzania

The government of Tanzania has officially handed over the area around the 2,115-MW Rufiji hydro project to joint venture contractors Arab Contractors Company and Elsewedy Electric Company. This marks the start of project construction.

The project, on the Rufiji River at Stiegler’s Gorge, is being built for the Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (Tanesco). Construction of the facility was approved last month.

Arab Contractors received a contract to design and construct the dam and power plant in October 2018. Construction of the facility will involve building a main dam and appurtenant structures, with expected reservoir length of 100 km, covering an area of about 1,350 square km. The dam height is about 134 meters.

When complete, this project will more than triple the country’s current installed hydropower capacity of 562 MW.

An independent study showed the cost to build the project is more than double the government’s estimates of $3 billion. Assessor Joerg Hartmann said it would likely cost $7.58 billion once financing and other costs are taken into account, with cost overruns potentially driving it to $9.85 billion. OECD Watch said this estimate does not factor in indirect costs, such as impact on the Selous World Heritage site where the project is being built, as well as the wildlife and people living downstream.