In a statement, Rift Valley Energy which is the investing company in the 2.4 megawatts wind to electricity project in Mufindi district of Iringa region, said the country’s first ever wind farm started generating small amounts of electricity from the first of its three wind turbines, as part of its prescribed start up testing procedures.
“This generation capacity will be gradually increased, and the additional two turbines brought on line, until the total generation capacity matches the demand of the 32 villages that are currently connected to the Mwenga rural electricity distribution network. The new facility, once fully commissioned, will be able to generate up to a maximum of 2.4MW,” the company said.
The statement further added that the additional renewable energy generation capacity will ensure continued availability of affordable power to the rapidly growing number of rural customers within the Mwenga rural electricity distribution network throughout the year, specifically in the dry season, when the available water for the Mwenga Hydro generation plant (which has been feeding the rural electricity distribution network since 2012) is low.
“Additionally, it will cater for further expansion of the rural electricity distribution network into those remaining areas of villages that are located near to the rural network area, and are still unconnected,” the company added.
The new wind farm will also provide the needed additional future generation capacity that will be required to meet the anticipated growth in small and medium sized industries that are now establishing themselves within the Mwenga rural electricity distribution network area, the statement added.
Rift Valley Energy further noted that ‘Mwenga Power,’ which is the service brand name of the Rift Valley Energy Group, who has been developing this project, recognises the importance of industrial and agro-industrial activities and their associated economic and developmental impact within the communities that surround them.
“Applications from new industrial customers who might wish to establish their operations within the rural distribution area are always warmly welcomed,” the company noted while extending appreciation to all stakeholders who contributed to the successful completion of the Mwenga Wind Farm at Usokami Village.
The company named some of the stakeholders as: Ministry of Energy and its agencies and regulators; Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication and its affiliates; commercial financiers, being both the Trade and Development Bank (TDB) and the Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP), each of whom have provided part of the required long term financing to the project, and so enabled the project to be implemented.
Rift Valley Energy also paid tribute to various contractors, all of whom have been 100 percent Tanzanian companies; turbine supplier Enercon GmbH, for the supply of the turbines, as well as for providing all of the necessary capacity building for the various teams who have been involved with this project.
“In recognition of the achievement of this important milestone, as well as in recognition of the economic impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the surrounding economy, we are pleased to be able to offer up until October 2020 any of our new customers that may be located next to our network a discounted connection fee for a single phase customer of only 25,000/- (before taxes), so that they too can enjoy the benefits of the new wind generation capacity, at an affordable price,” the company added.