Ngozi Geothermal Power Project To Be Developed In Tanzania

Tanzania has an ambitious plan to diversify its electricity source mix.

By Chriselle Moraes on
4th April 2023

The Tanzania Geothermal Development Company (TGDC), a subsidiary of Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco), is developing the Ngozi geothermal power plant with a planned power generation capacity of 70 megawatts on completion.

The country’s geothermal potential is estimated at 5,000 megawatts electric (MWe), but plans are in place to produce 200 MWe between 2021 and 2025. Of the estimated 70 megawatts total energy expected to be generated from the Ngozi geothermal plant, 30 megawatts will be developed in the initial phase of the project. 

According to news reports, TGDC is expected to sell the steam produced from the geothermal wells drilled at the Lake Ngozi site to a consortium comprising the Government of Tanzania, a strategic investor and one or more development partners. The consortium will then generate electricity from the steam on-site at this power plant. The electricity will be sold to the Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited, for integration in the Tanzania national grid.

The Ngozi geothermal power plant project is estimated to cost US$144 million, and the project has already begun. Detailed surface exploration is completed. Drilling of the geothermal wells is next in the process. 

The area around Lake Ngozi will be a pilot project for developing geothermal energy projects in the region. Tanzania has more than 50 sites that have the potential to generate electricity from geothermal energy. These sites are in the regions of Mbeya, Arusha, Dodoma, Iringa, Coast, Kilimanjaro, Kagera, Katavi, Shinyanga, Morogoro, Mwara, Manyara, Rukwa, Singida, Songwe, and Tanga.  

TGDC published a tender for drilling and well testing services in November 2022 for three slim-hole wells for the project. “The TGDC is planning to enter into an agreement with a local company to carry out shallow well drilling tests for research purposes on our Kiejo-Mbaka project in Busokelo council, Rungwe district, Mbeya region,” said Kato Kabaka, TGDC’s managing director.

Kabaka said significant challenges remain in the process of developing geothermal plants. The government covers a large part of the project implementation costs but seeks help to finance the high cost of exploration. The government has spent US$8.9 million to purchase a drilling machine at the Ngozi project site.

Kabaka added that the government has also funded training for local geothermal experts, and at least 36 experts have received training in various aspects of the project. 

The project will diversify the electricity mix in a country that faces droughts which reduce the flow of rivers. Tanzania’s second-largest power source, hydro, is currently at an installed capacity of 562 megawatts.

Top Photo: Geothermal Power plant - Stock Image (Péter Gudella | Dreamstime)

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