Tanzania signs deal to build first-ever wind farm

Monday June 18 2018

Windpower, ngong

The Ngong windpower farm in Kajiado County, Kenya. Tanzania has licenced Windlab Ltd to build 300MW Miombo Hewani wind farm in the country. FILE PHOTO | NATION 

By KENNEDY SENELWA
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Tanzania has licensed a subsidiary of Australia’s Windlab Ltd to build 300MW Miombo Hewani wind farm in the central part of the country.

Windlab Developments Tanzania Ltd has obtained an environmental and social impact assessment certificate for the project near Makambako town at the junction of Njombe, Iringa and Mbeya.

Windlab said the project will be undertaken in phases with the initial part using up $300 million for 100MW comprising up to 34 wind turbines and a transmission line to the national electricity grid at Makambako substation.

The certificate signed on May 30, 2018 by Minister of State in the vice-president’s office (Union and Environment) Mr January Makamba was the first to be issued in Tanzania for a wind farm.

Miombo puts Tanzania on path to tapping wind resources to generate the power and joins Kenya which has 300 MW wind farm in Turkana in the northern part of country.

Power generation mix
It says the aim is to inject electricity to grid by September 2018 after completing a transmission line. Windlab has secured a grant from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland to fund the undertaking. The firm hopes to secure further financing.

Windlab’s chief executive officer Roger Price said that in developing Miombo Hewani, the firm will apply experience gained from working on over 50 wind energy projects across North America, Australia and southern Africa.

“The wind resource pattern is biased towards night-time generation and during the dry season, making it an ideal addition to the current and planned electricity generation mix,” he said.

Phase one of Miombo Hewani is expected to increase the national grid capacity by over 5 per cent and generate sufficient energy to power nearly one million homesteads.

Less than one-third of Tanzania’s population of over 55 million have access to electricity. The country’s growth rate averaged 6 per cent in last decade, creating a need for new investments in electricity generation.

Its mid-term plan is to diversify electricity sources to natural gas, solar, wind, geothermal, and coal to reduce dependence on thermal power that depend on either diesel or heavy fuel oil.

Windlab will work with the Ministry of Energy, Tanzania Electric Supply Company and Tanzanian Investment Bank to ensure the project remains environment friendly.