Tanzania will next year start exploring geothermal power along Lake Ngozi in Mbeya region, which is located in the southern highlands of the country, to meet growing need for electricity and lower its consumption of nonrenewable energy.
Ngozi is the second largest Crater Lake in Africa, located roughly 15 kilometers southeast of the city of Mbeya and it’s in the Mporoto Ridge Forest Reserve.Energy and Minerals Minister Sospeter Muhongo said on Saturday investigation show that heat on the top of the lake is about 200 degrees of centigrade.
“This gives us hope that after drill, temperature will be very high that can be able to produce electricity,” the minister told a press conference here. He said the government is determined to explore all sources of power available in the country, taking into account that hydropower production is currently overwhelmed with climate change.
Geothermal is an important source of electricity, which is produced by harnessing internal heat of the earth, the minister said, adding that the type of natural energy production is extremely environmentally friendly and used in many geothermal hot spots around the globe. Muhongo said that the technology would be the first of its kind since the country got its independence in 1960s.
He added that the country was set to benefit immensely at the time when the country is grappling with punishing power shortages. “After Lake Ngozi in Mbeya, we’ll go into other geothermal potential areas across the country,” he said.
For the geothermal power industry, the best natural steam is found nice and close to the Earth’s surface, which helps explain the current buzz around hot prospects in East Africa’s Rift Valley: a giant trench stretching 6,000 kilometers from the Red Sea to Mozambique, where two tectonic plates are slowly drifting apart. The potential for geothermal in this region is massive -- estimated to exceed 15,000MW, according to a report backed by the UN University Geothermal Training Programme.
On other sources of power, Muhongo said in the next few years Tanzania will solely depend on power generated from coal, solar, and biogas rather than depending on
hydropower. He said that the government’s idea is to make the country have enough power and sell the surplus to the neighboring countries.”Very soon we’ll reach there.
Currently we have the capacity to produce 1,348MW from our different sources and maximum consumption is 830MW. The biggest challenge right now is infrastructures especially when it comes to transporting power to customers.”