Tanzania awaits Chinese bank on wind farm

‘The wind power project has been delayed because of challenges in getting a concessional loan after EximBank raised its interest rate from one percent to two percent and lowered the loan repayment period to 20 years from 25 years’ reads part of a Ministry of Energy and Minerals statement issued last month giving some background.

The government initially aimed to commission the wind farm in 2013 but construction has been delayed by a lack of finance. Exim Bank is solely owned by the Chinese government.

The project is a joint venture between state-run National Development Corporation (NDC), state power utility TANESCO and a privately owned company, Power Pool East Africa Limited.

The wind project will be developed in the central town of Singida and is estimated to have a generation capacity of 50MW by 2016. Plans are to raise this output to 300 MW in future.

The project has been on the drawing board for several years now, but lack of adequate financing has remained the leading constraint.

According to the UNDP, based on available information, much of the wind resource in Tanzania is located along coastlines, the highland plateau regions of the Rift Valley, on the plains and around the Great Lakes. Currently, wind energy is used to pump water for irrigation and to meet domestic and livestock water needs.

Tanzania, which relies heavily on hydro-electric power, natural gas and fuel oil for electricity generation, wants to add wind and geothermal power to its energy mix.

Considering the high potential for wind generation, some quarters believe the government should lay more emphasis on this sector, so that a larger portion of the water resources used for hydro-power can be used as centres for irrigation.