Rufiji Basin Development Authority (RUBADA) is seeking a financing partner to develop the 2,100-MW Stieglers Gorge hydroelectric project on southeastern Tanzania’s Rufiji River.
Stieglers Gorge would have a 134-meter-tall concrete arch dam creating a 100-kilometer-long reservoir impounding 34 billion cubic meters. Although a 1985 study by Norconsult of Norway placed the total project cost at US$1.6 billion, a representative said that cost now could approach US$2 billion.
RUBADA plans to develop the hydropower project in three phases, with Phase 1 including a 400-MW Station A, with an underground powerhouse containing four 100-MW generating units, estimated in 1985 to cost US$633 million.
Phase 2 would be 800-MW Station B, with a powerhouse at the foot of the dam containing four 200-MW units, at an estimated cost of US$194 million. Phase 3, 900-MW Station C, with an underground powerhouse containing three 300-MW units, was estimated to cost US$173 million. A Phase 4 to complete the multipurpose project was estimated in 1985 to cost US$382 million.
With flows of up to 2,600 cubic meters per second, the complete project is expected to generate 5,920 gigawatt-hours per year.
Stieglers Gorge seen playing part in Africa grid
RUBADA and Tanzania Electric Supply Co. Ltd. (TANESCO) have commissioned a new study of the project for Tanzania’s master power plan. They envision Stieglers Gorge playing a part in plans to interconnect the grids of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia.
RUBADA said the World Bank commissioned independent experts to review the project, which they found to be technically and economically feasible. It said project designs are available at RUBADA’s offices.
The Rufiji Basin Hydropower Master Plan identifies other potential hydro sites, including 180-MW Kihansi, which already is operating; 165-MW Mpanga; 685-MW Ruhudji; 485-MW Mnyera; 87-MW Iringa; 130-MW Lukose; and 464-MW Kilombero, including Kingenena and Shughuli falls.
Tanzania’s current demand primarily is served by Kihansi and the 200-MW Kidatu, 80-MW Mtera, 66-MW Pangani, 21-MW Hale, and 8-MW Nyumba ya Mungu hydropower projects. (HNN 6/24/05)