First wind energy plant in Tanzania

High oil prices and droughts have made the country’s energy scenario even worse than before. The Tanzanian National Development Corporation (NDC) and Power Pool East Africa have entered into a contract to generate electricity from wind power in the Singida region. A new 50 MW wind farm is being developed in Tanzania, near Lake Singida, a central-northern region of this country.

Speaking during a visit to the site in the region where the project would be built, the deputy minister for Industry and Trade, Mr Lazaro Nyalandu, said the installation of the wind turbbines would start early next year and the project will take 15 months before it starts generating the first 50MW for the national grid.

He said wind power was the quickest way of generating electricity to boost the national grid, since other types of power projects take too long to accomplish.

The wind power project, 51% of which is owned by the public company National Development Corporation (NDC), has already been approved by the relevant authorities. The total investment is estimated in about 123 billion dollars.

The latter was announced by a government spokesperson, who emphasized the difficulties faced by the local economy due to increasingly high oil prices and a prolonged drought, which drastically reduced the contribution from hydropower, on which electricity supplies largely depend.

Construction is expected to begin in February and the plant should be put into service by the end of 2012. In the future, the site could be expanded up to about 300 MW.

With a surface that is three times as large as that of Italy and a population of about 37 million inhabitants, Tanzania’s installed electricity capacity is just more than 800 MW, of which approximately 500 MW from hydropower. 75% of the population lives in rural areas, and it is estimated that less than 3% has access to electricity.

Even where access is possible, electricity supplies are very poor, considering that this country is East Africa’s second economy. According to government estimates, electricity needs already today exceed the available supplies by at least 100 MW.