Tanzania tackling energy worries by investing in renewables

Wind_farm_-_darkTanzania is investing heavily in developing wind farm to help it meet growing energy demands. (Image source: John Allan)As its domestic power demand grows by 50MW annually, and with its mining industry enjoying rapid expansion, Tanzania has found itself investing heavily in renewable energy sources

Tanzania recently acquired a US$123 million non-concession loan from the Exim Bank of Beijing, China, to construct a wind plant in the country’s central region.

The Singida wind park is expected to have an installed capacity of 1,800MW when it becomes fully operational within the next five years.

Initially, the project will generate 50MW of power by next year as it undergoes full installation.

Hydro is the country’s major source of electricity and the development of wind energy will boost light industries in the central region of Singida and its environs.

Tanzania has also embarked on a $4.7 million project to develop solar energy for rural communities in Kigoma.

Clean energy firm Rex Investment Limited (RIL) and its partner Camco International will install and distribute 190 solar systems in the region.

Through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), a subsidiary of the US Foreign Aid Agency, 45 secondary schools, 10 health centres, 120 dispensaries, municipal buildings and businesses currently without electricity will benefit from the project. Solar energy is popular in Tanzania because it is sustainable and requires little maintenance.

Government officials have said the project will commence in May 2012 and will have 208MW capacity on completion in July 2013.

Camco will contribute about $1.1 million to the project while the remaining $3.6 million will be provided by RIL.

As part of the project, Camco will also work to encourage communities to purchase and install solar systems in bulk in order to achieve economies of scale.

Mwangi Mumero

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