Tanzania approves first large-scale wind farm project

6th July 2018 By: John Muchira - Creamer Media Correspondent

The authorities in Tanzania have granted Australian company Windlab approval to build, in phases, a 300 MW wind farm, which is expected to contribute significantly to the country’s energy needs.

This comes after Windlab’s local subsidiary, Windlab Developments Tanzania, was awarded an environmental- and social-impact assessment certificate for the construction of the Miombo Hewani Wind Farm and associated transmission line.

The project, in southern-central Tanzania, will be the country’s first-ever wind farm.

“Miombo Hewani enjoys an excellent wind resource, which is among the best not only on the continent but also in the world. The wind resource pattern is biased towards night-time generation and generation during the dry season in Tanzania, making it an ideal addition to Tanzania’s current and planned electricity generation mix,” says Windlab CEO Roger Price.

He adds that Windlab will apply industry best practice and capitalise on the experience it has gained from developing more than 50 wind energy projects across North America, Australia and Southern Africa.

The project will be built in phases, with the first phase of 100 MW, which will cost $300- million, involving the installation of 34 wind turbines and electrical infrastructure connecting the wind farm to the national electricity grid.

To fund the project, Windlab has secured an energy and environment partnership grant from Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs. Windlab will seek further development finance investment.

When completed, the wind farm will operate for at least 25 years and generate enough power to supply nearly one-million average-size Tanzanian homes.

The wind farm is a major boost to Tanzania’s efforts to increase access to electricity and power its economic growth agenda.

Currently, less than one-third of Tanzania’s population of over 55-million has access to electricity and government is investing in projects to boost power generation capacity from about 1 500 MW currently to 5 000 MW by 2021.

The World Bank recently approved a $455- million loan to finance power projects in the East African country, including the construction of critical high-voltage transmission infrastructure in the southern and north-western regions.