HomeRegional NewsEast AfricaTAREA: “Opportunity for EAC member states to provide incentives to solar mini...

TAREA: “Opportunity for EAC member states to provide incentives to solar mini grid operators”

Dr Eng Matthew Matimbwi

Exclusive interview with Dr Eng Matthew Matimbwi, Executive Secretary of Tanzania Renewable Energy Association (TAREA) and Chairperson East Africa Renewable Energy Federation (EAREF).

At the upcoming Future Energy East Africa, he is presenting a case study on: “The challenge of mini grid beneficiaries accessing the electricity for productive uses”. He is also a panellist at the conference.

Let’s start with some background on yourself, your organisation and the kind of work that you do in the energy sector.
I have experience in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency for more than 20 years. I have working in planning and development of solar photovoltaic systems; advocacy; capacity building; networking; information collection and dissemination; and promoting business partnership.

Any exciting projects that you are currently involved in that you can share?  
I am working in advocating the Government of Tanzania to create the incentive package to the private developers that solar mini grids can have tariffs that are competitively fair to the national grid.  

What in your view are the main challenges in the power sector in Tanzania right now? And East Africa? 
The main challenge to the power sector in the region of East Africa is the high tariff of renewable energy electricity and low energy consumption by the end users.

What in your view are the main opportunities currently? 
The main opportunity is member states of EAC providing incentives to the solar mini grid operators; and enforcing demand side management.

What is your vision for the industry?
A renewable energy industry that supports industrialization that will flourish if there is fair competition between national utilities and private renewable energy power producers.

What surprises you about this sector?
The potential of isolated renewable energy mini grids is very high in supporting productive uses. Some schemes are already changing lives of the off-grid communities.

At the upcoming Future Energy East Africa, you are part of the conference programme. Can you give us a sneak preview of what your message will be at the event? Or what your expectations are?
My message will be “enable end users to use energy generated productively”.

Anything you would like to add?  
Participants will have to come up with proposals on:
1) how tariffs of solar electricity can be reduced; and
2) how end users use the supplied electricity for productive uses.

Annemarie Roodbol
Annemarie Roodbol is a communications practitioner based in Cape Town.