19 April 2012 – Tanzania has secured a US$123 million loan to construct a wind energy plant in its central region. The wind turbine project expects to extend power generation by up to 300 MW.
The planned wind farm in Singida will mean that power-dependent industries in the region will soon be provided with locally generated electricity. The managing director of the state-run National Development Corporation (NDC), Gideon Nasari, confirmed the parastatal has secured the non-concessional loan from Exim Bank of Beijing, China.
NDC has a 51% stake in the wind power project and is partnered by privately owned company, Power Pool East Africa, with 49%. The loan will be serviced over a 20 year period. The Singida wind farm is expected to be fully operational within the next five years.
A total of 1,450 hectares has been secured for the project, but this will be increased to 5,000 ha. NDC indicates that the Singida wind power project, which is located about 12 km east of the Singida municipality, will start by generating at least 50 MW by next year.
The demand for power in Tanzania is growing by more than 50 MW a year, fuelled partly by an expansion of mining undertakings in parts of the country. Currently, hydro is the major source of electricity in Tanzania.
Wind power on a commercial scale to date has not been established in sub-Saharan Africa despite the existence of consistently strong winds, especially along the top of the rift valley, the mountain plateau which runs through East Africa from Ethiopia to Malawi and Mozambique. However, a number of projects like this one are planned, which are expected to see this scenario change over the coming decade.