Canadian-registered energy investment company Continental Energy Corporation has acquired a 42.5 per cent equity stake in Tanzanian renewable energy developer Ruaha River Power Company.

Continental, which does oil and gas exploration in Indonesia as its core business, earned the equity for its geotechnical evaluation and feasibility work on Ruaha Power’s Lukosi River hydropower project.

The shares make Continental the single largest shareholder in the Dar es Salaam-based company that develops small to mid-sized power projects with the intent of acting as an independent power producer and distribution network operator of off-grid isolated mini-grids.

Rural electrification

Ruaha Power develops and operates mini-grids and sells electrical power directly to consumers in rural areas of Tanzania through pre-pay meters.

Ruaha Power is developing a solar PV-diesel hybrid mini-grid at Malolo and a biomass-diesel hybrid Mini-Grid at Ulelingombe, both villages in central Tanzania.

It is also conducting a feasibility study on a 25 megawatt development of grid-connected generation capacity at potential run-of-river hydropower sites on Tanzania’s Lukosi River.

East African opportunity

Commenting on Continental’s new role within Ruaha Power as shareholder and director, Richard L. McAdoo, chairman and chief executive officer, said: “We are excited about this new opportunity to establish operations in East Africa. We have had an interest in Tanzania since the announcement of the large gas finds off its southeastern coast near its border with Mozambique.

“We have high expectations for Ruaha Power and its planned objectives in Tanzania as it pursues a pragmatic, commercial approach in making innovative small power developments for prosperous rural and isolated markets currently without access to a national power grid.

He added: “We intend to apply the Ruaha Power expertise and experience to similar market opportunities in Indonesia and other rapidly developing countries around the Indian Ocean Rim.”

US development company Panafra owns 30 per cent and two Tanzanian companies Kastan Mining and Kitonga Electric Power Company own 12.5 per cent and 15 per cent respectively.