Arusha. A multi-million dollar project to connect Tanzania to the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) will be realised in 2015 and add more power to the national electricity grid. Revealing this here yesterday, the minister for Energy and Minerals, Prof Sospeter Muhongo said: "We seriously believe in the integration of regional power networks and intra-regional cooperation as we recognise it will provide rewards." However, opening the 39th committee meeting of the SAPP, he did not give the estimated cost of the project and expected capacity in megawatts (MWs). Nevertheless, plans are afoot for a donor conference to be held soon in Dar es Salaam for discussing the venture. Once the Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya transmission inter-connector project becomes operational in 2015, Tanzania will become an operating member as Zambia is already connected to the SAPP trading power pool. The minister explained that the move would convince other non-operating members of SAPP, like Angola and Malawi, to join the power pool. Besides the SAPP, Tanzania was also keen to be connected to the East African Power Pool and the Nile Basin Initiative. Prof Muhongo told energy experts and specialists from the region: "Regional power systems interconnection will ultimately provide a solution to many challenges facing SAPP member countries in the energy sector." The acting managing director of the Tanzania Electricity Supply Company (Tanesco), Mr Declan Mhaiki, said a 400kV transmission line from Iringa to Shinyanga through Dodoma and Singida would be completed in 2015. The Backbone Transmission Investment Project will reinforce the central transmission corridor giving room to further interconnection developments to Arusha and Nairobi as well as for the 400kV Iringa-Mbeya section, which is part of the interconnection to Zambia. According to him, Tanesco's installed capacity has reached 1,380MW against the peak demand of about 835MW. This means that there are no more power threats of power rationing in the near future. The government and the power utility took concrete measures to address the electricity crisis last year by enlisting the support of both emergency and rental power producers. It therefore filled the power generation gap of about 500MW. Energy demands in the Southern Africa bloc increase at the rate of three per cent per annum. Experts say if all the projects were to be fully implemented, the region would have a surplus capacity by 2014. By Zephania Ubwani, The Citizen Bureau Chief.