The analysed wind speed data revealed that the wind energy potential in Tanzania is fairly high. The analysis also showed that the windy season coincides with the dry season.
The available wind power at one prospective site called if harvested for the purpose of electricity generation could help to alleviate the shortage of hydroelectricity that prevails during the dry season.
Wind energy experts are involved in analysing the available wind speed data and also measuring wind speed in small intervals of time at the sites that are believed to have high wind energy potential. It is also planned to draw a wind map for Tanzania.
“ The people of Singida are expecting a lot of this project ”, Regional Commissioner Parseko Kone
The 24 wind turbines, which should be in operation within 18 months, will generate 50 megawatts (MW) of power, almost 10% of Tanzania’s current power needs.
The company behind the $113m project is Wind East Africa. "It’s important that Tanzania diversifies its power sources," says project manager Mike Case.
"The country is very reliant on hydro-electric power, which means in times of drought, there is a power deficit. Oil-generated power is very expensive, so wind power offers a cheaper and more reliable alternative."
The demand for power in Tanzania is growing by more than 50 MW a year, fuelled partly by an expansion of gold and nickel mining in the north of the country.
At present, electricity is sourced from power plants more than 1000 km away. The wind farm at Njiapanda will mean that power-hungry industries will soon be provided with electricity generated locally.
The wind farm will benefit the local economy, providing jobs during the construction phase and a handful of jobs when it is up and running.
Regional Commissioner Parseko Kone is also hoping the rest of his impoverished region will profit.
Wind power on a commercial scale is unknown in sub-Saharan Africa, despite the existence of constantly blowing and consistently strong winds, especially along the top of the rift valley, the mountain plateau which runs through East Africa from Ethiopia to Malawi and Mozambique.
Africa is now set to benefit from the progress made in Europe. The equipment is becoming cheaper, as well as more robust.
According to wind expert Dr Ladislaus Lwambuka, from the University of Dar es Salaam, Africa is now ready for wind power on a commercial scale.
"If the Wind East Africa project is a success, then it could lead to more wind farms, not just in Tanzania but in the rest of Africa, particularly along the rift valley, where we know the winds are strong."
There are already plans, if the first phase of the project goes well, to double the number of wind turbines and increase Wind East Africa’s output to up to 100 MW.
The people of Njiapanda and the surrounding dusty plateau may not know it now, but this small part of the rift valley will, by then, be the epicentre of wind power in sub-Saharan Africa.
South Korean Group May Build 210-Megawatt Wind Farm in Tanzania
A group of South Korean investors plans to build a 210-megawatt wind-power farm in Tanzania’s central Singida region by 2011 at a cost of $400 million, Chris Incheul Chae, chief executive officer of Good P.M Group, said.
The wind farm project, which comprises of 100 wind turbines of up to 60 feet each (18.3 meters), will be located about 150 kilometers (94 miles) northwest of Tanzania’s capital, Dodoma, Chae, said today in an interview at Stone Town in Zanzibar.
Chae’s group has signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire the 500-hectare (1,235-acre) property in Singida from Tanzania’s Power Pool East Africa Ltd., he said. Korean contractors will start construction of the wind farm by year- end, said Chae. In the second phase, the group may acquire 900 hectares of adjoining land and build as much as 1,800 megawatts of capacity, he added.
About 90 percent of Tanzania’s population has no access to power. Peak demand for electricity is about 782 megawatts, compared with a capacity of 570 megawatts, with demand growing at about 15 percent a year, Minister for Energy and Minerals William Ngeleja said March 13.