11 May 2010 – East and Southern African renewable energy developers can get support of up to Sh360 million (200,000) each under a programme launched in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

Through the initiative called the Energy and Environment Partnership programme, the assistance will be for carrying out feasibility studies and pilot projects.

The programme is funded by the Finnish ministry of Foreign Affairs, eight other partner countries and the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

The minister counsellor at the Finnish Embassy, Mr Heikki Haili, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that such projects were crucial at times when the energy consumption was continuing to rise worldwide and issues related to climate change were deepening.

"We must not rely only on traditional energy sources," he said.

Finland will contribute 8.5 million to approve projects over the next three years to the eight partner countries – South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia.

More than 90 per cent of cooking energy used in Tanzania comes from wood and charcoal. As a result, over 40,000 hectares of forests are cut every year.

The first call for entries was held last month and more than 120 project proposals have been made, only 12 of them from Tanzania. "We would like to see many proposals from Tanzania before the second call sometime in September," said Mr Haili.

The commissioner for Energy and Petroleum Affairs, Mr Bashir Mrindoko, urged interested parties to submit thoroughly worked-out and innovative proposals to get support.