Jan 27, 2023

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Power dam delays Tanzania electric train launch

Tanzanians will be waiting longer to ride an electric train thanks to delays in the completion of the Julius Nyerere Dam, which is expected to generate electricity to power locomotives on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

< p>According to officials, the construction plan of the dam has been revised and the completion date has been pushed back to 2024.

Officials announced that service tests will be carried out this week on the 300-kilometer Dar es Salaam-Morogoro railway starting in August.

Engineers are currently examining the systems that will power the locomotive motors on the line that opened on Saturday, an activity expected to be completed within three months. According to the Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC), this will be followed by the official start of a passenger train. Two electric locomotives were bought by Turkish construction company Yapı Merkezi to be tested on the line.

Already, says Jamila Mbarouk, head of PRC public relations, people were advised to avoid the railway line during the testing phase .

However, the Rufiji River power project, which should come online next month and deliver 2,115 megawatts of electricity, will be completed in 2024, according to the director of Tanzania Electricity Corporation (Tanesco). -General Maharage Chande Various challenges meant the $2.9 billion project’s schedule had to be extended to “no earlier than sometime in 2024”.

A new deadline for the dam’s start-up will be announced after set out in a joint project assessment with the Egyptian contractors, Mr Chande said.

He noted that the postponement was not related to project funding issues “but to other factors”.

The dam in The Stiegler Gorge on the Rufiji River in Tanzania is being built by a joint venture between two Egyptian companies, Arab Contractors and Elsewedy Electric.

Construction began in December 2018 with an initial completion time of 42 months. Mr Chande’s announcement comes on the basis of recent revelations in a government audit report that the utility is facing claims for damages from contractors for breach of contract. According to the findings of Controller and Auditor General (CAG) Charles Kichere, frequent power outages at the project site had caused work stoppages that resulted in the contractors filing an $8.53 million claim with Tanesco.

< According to the CAG, the project was only 48.02 percent complete as of October 2021 instead of the planned 94.47 percent. Reasons for the delay include the Covid-19 pandemic, planning and the Rufiji River flooding.

Mr Chande said the project was 58.8 percent complete by March.

“The original plan was to have it completed by June, but this has turned out to be no longer possible. We are currently conducting an evaluation with the contractors to know when the dam can begin generating electricity , but all indications are that this will not be before 2024,” he said.

Ahmed El-Assar, senior vice chairman of Arab Contractors, told an Egyptian government delegation visiting the project site in the Visited in December last year Other challenges included the location in a dense forest and difficulties in choosing the right manufacturer and exporter for the dam turbines.

Severe flooding on the Rufiji River also left some at one point Working equipment sunk during the construction of the project’s river diversion tunnel, Mr Asser said the delegation led by Egypt’s Housing Minister Assem El-Gazzar.

The first of the nine turbines, each rated at 235 MW, was installed in August 2021 . Tanesco officials said last July that construction of a 400-kilovolt transmission line to a cooling substation in Chalinze, Coastal Region, had already begun, allowing power to be immediately connected to the national grid once the dam is in place Operation commences.

The 160-kilometer transmission line was built by an Indian firm, Larsen & Toubro Construction Company, the utility said. However, Department of Energy sources confirmed to The EastAfrican this week that work on both the transmission line and the refrigeration plant is also a long way off.

– Additional reporting by Emmanuel Onyango