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Mbeya residents to benefit from thermal power

Mbeya residents to benefit from thermal power

GPA Chairman Graeme Robertson told reporters in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday that villages in the highlands of Tukuyu district that surround the project will be the first beneficiaries of the rural electrification. 

“The renewable and environmental friendly geothermal energy will have great impact on the regional development by providing clean electricity,” he said, noting that the main target will be the geothermal reservoir at the Ngozi volcano expected to generate about 100 MW of electricity in 18 months time.  

At Ngozi Crater Lake, a conventional geothermal resource has been identified at less than 2,500m depth with temperatures in excess of 220  ̊C and capable of supporting 100MW, which is 10 per cent of the 600 MW needed to cover the deficit. 

Mr Robertson added that the firm has injected into the project 5 million US dollars (about 8bn/-) in geotechnical and drilling work to establish target areas.  The geotechnical results from GPT lease areas incorporating extensive hot springs (80 ̊C) along the Mbaka fault regions indicate thermal water of more than 160 ̊C at relatively shallow depth of less than 800 metres located to the north of Lake Nyasa. 

The exploration at the Rufiji leased area which is in the preliminary stages demonstrates geothermal water potential.  The GPA is a jointly owned firm by the Mauritius based Geothermal Power Limited (GPL) having 70 per cent stake, the Interstate Mining & Minerals Limited with 25 per cent share and the National Development Corporation (NDC).  

The GPL was established by leading German geothermal consultants together with Mauritius, Australia and Singapore partners with the objective of developing thermal power resources in Africa and later in Asia.  The GPA Director Mr Henry Nyiti said together with other electricity generating projects planned in the region, the geothermal investment in Mbeya will highlight the country’s involvement in sustainable power generation, aiming at overcoming the ongoing shortage. 

“We have applied for licences in other potential areas along the rift valley for investments in geothermal power projects which could help in easing the present electricity shortage,” he said.  Kenya is among the East African states with advance thermal power projects generating over 200 MW. Ethiopia has also made substantial thermal power projects in the region.

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Author: SEBASTIAN MRINDOKO

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