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Power Generation at a Cost, Sparking Environmental Concerns and Controversy

Main image to the post Power Generation at a Cost, Sparking Environmental Concerns and Controversy

Power Generation at a Cost

Tanzania has activated the first turbine of its new Julius Nyerere Hydropower Plant, a project that has doubled the country's power generation capacity. However, the plant's location within the Selous Game Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has sparked controversy among conservationists.

The 2,115-megawatt plant's first turbine, with a capacity of 235 megawatts, is now contributing to the national grid. This is expected to alleviate the months-long power rationing experienced by Tanzanians. The second turbine is anticipated to join the grid this month, marking the end of rationing.

Prior to construction, conservationists raised concerns about the dam's impact on wildlife and their habitats downstream. The Selous Game Reserve is renowned for its diverse animal population, including elephants, black rhinos, and cheetahs.

Despite these concerns, the government, under both former President John Magufuli and his successor Samia Suluhu Hassan, pushed forward with the project. They view it as crucial for boosting power supply in a country where less than half the population has access to electricity.

The government has pledged to ensure that all future hydroelectric projects respect water sustainability. Before the first turbine's activation, Tanzania's installed generation capacity stood at 1,900 megawatts, with natural gas contributing nearly two-thirds of that amount.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09