The construction of Tanzania’s first-ever wind farm is nearing completion following a recent arrival of the farm’s three 800-kW Enercon wind turbines at the project site in Mwenga, Mufindi District of Tanzania’s Iringa region.
The installation and testing of the turbines are expected to be finalized by next month.
The wind energy project is funded with a US$1.2m loan from the Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP), which is entirely financed by the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
Expectations for the project
Upon completion, the new 2.4-MW wind power facility will complement an already existing 4-MW hydropower plant that has been powering the rural grid network since 2012.
Tanzania’s first-ever wind farm has been developed and operated by Rift Valley Energy Group, the network is the first private large-scale rural network in the East African country. It supplies electricity to over 4,500 homes and businesses across 32 villages. Any surplus power is sold to Tanzania Electric Supply Co Ltd (TANESCO) under a power purchase agreement.
The new wind farm will facilitate the planned expansion of the rural network which is expected to connect additional 1,500 customers over the next two years and counter the hydro plant’s varying output due to the region’s seasonality of rainfall.
An innovative energy solution
The business model behind the hybrid development represents an innovative energy solution for the region, since it is led by the private sector and combines multiple generation sources and off takes – including that of the national utility – at a large scale.
“Complementing the existing hydro plant with a wind farm is a smart move that will enable Rift Valley to greatly improve the quality and reliability of its rural grid network, which has already had a transformational impact on thousands of homes and businesses in Tanzania,” said Geoff Sinclair, Managing Director of Camco Clean Energy and REPP’s investment manager.
“The success of the project should have a strong demonstration effect in other countries and provide a replicable solution for complex power supply issues elsewhere in Africa.”