Tanzania set to tap into wind power with new 100 MW plant


Tanzania will be tapping into green, renewable energy sources come 2014, when a proposed 100 MW wind power plant will come on line, now under construction in the Singida region of Central Tanzania.

Wind East Africa Limited, the joint venture between Tanzania’s Six Telecom and UK based Aldwych International have joined hands with the World Bank’s private sector lending arm International Finance Corporation in securing a 123 million US Dollars loan for the project with the balance of the funding being provided by the equity partners to pay for the overall 285 million US Dollar investment.

Tanzania has been suffering from more than the usual share of power cuts in the East African region, largely as a result of poor maintenance and lack of upgrading of existing power stations and the national grid, and although the discovery of natural gas has raised the prospect of increased thermal power production in due time, there was a notable lack of investments in green, sustainable energy sources until now.

In neighbouring Kenya a pilot plan on the Ngong Hills outside the capital Nairobi has led to two more such facilities being constructed in the Turkana region in the North of Kenya where prevailing winds are providing an ideal environment, far away from major human populations, to generate over 600 MW when both projects have come on line. Also in Kenya has geothermal power been tapped like nowhere else in the region, but the entry of Tanzania now into the sustainable energy market makes it only the second country in the region to see a major investment in green energy sources emerge.

Uganda in turn has lagged behind in generating investments into renewable energy sources despite significant potential for geothermal energy and wind power farms, focusing – and rather with significant delays already in the pipeline – on turning oil finds into electricity instead of promoting in parallel the introduction of green energy source on a wider scale.

The new project in Tanzania will add much needed electricity to the national grid when coming on line, bringing relief to manufacturers, the hotel sector and domestic users now regularly loadshedded or blacked out through technical faults in plants and along the ageing grid. Watch this space.