The process of transferring surplus electricity from Zambia through Tanzania to power-hungry Kenya is taking shape.
Mr William Ngeleja, Tanzania’s energy and minerals minister, said on Tuesday in Dodoma that the country’s national grid is ready to convey power generated in the landlocked country to its neighbours.
“During the 2009 financial year, the government continued with its strategy to link the national grid with grids of neighbouring countries,” Mr Ngeleja said.
The power will be routed from Serenje through Mbeya, Dar-es-Salaam, Singida and Arusha to Nairobi. Earlier estimates had placed the cost of the project at approximately $400 million, but it is now expected to cost $650 million.
The project was to be carried out in two phases estimated to cost $350 and $300 respectively but Zambia prefers that it be completed in one go.
The project is expected to transfer 400MW from Zambia to Tanzania and at least 300MW from Tanzania to Kenya.
“It is estimated that about 2,800 GWh a year will be traded over the Interconnector.”
The envisaged Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya power transmission line will promote electricity trade, enhance security of supply and foster economic and regional integration.
Technical, economic and financial studies have already been completed on the planned 400MW Interconnector.
“It will give Zambia a strategic role in the power market trade between the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) because of its central geographical location,” Mr Ngeleja said.
In the short to medium term the development of the Interconnector will encourage investment in new hydropower generation capacity in Zambia. Surplus power can then be exported to East Africa which is experiencing acute power shortages.
The project comprises a 700km double circuit 330kV transmission line from Serenje in Zambia to Mbeya in Tanzania, a single circuit 330kV line from Mbeya to Arusha and a 260km 330kV transmission line between Arusha and Nairobi.
Business Day Africa