Mwenga Hydro and Rural Electrification Project Manager, Engineer Joel Gomba told members of a Parliamentary Energy and Minerals Committee who visited the site over the weekend that installation work of the wind power turbines is in the final stage.
“We have additional hydro generation facilities that we plan to develop as and when the demand from our network customers begins to outstrip the available generation capacity,” Eng Gomba said while unveiling that talks are under way with Ministry of Energy on the possibility of taking over some of the remote Tanesco power lines adjacent to the project’s network under some form of management contract.
He said the move could potentially allow customers to enjoy lower power tariffs, whilst also removing the (commercial and technical) burden from the struggling state utility conglomerate of supplying and servicing such rural customers.
Eng Gomba further told the law makers that Mwenga Hydro and Rural Electrification Project is now waiting for feedback from the Ministry of Energy on the concept, which has the potential to be a win-win for both parties.
Speaking on their challenges the project is facing, Eng Gomba said, “VAT refunds have been stalled for two years so far, which is affecting completion of our rural electrification projects. Is there any way that this stalled process could be concluded, so that we can deliver on our commitments?”
Temeke lawmaker, Abdallah Mtolea who is also acting Parliamentary Energy Committee’s Chairman, promised to address concerns raised by Gomba relating to the Mwenga Hydro Project. “We are going to work with you to address challenges facing Mwenga Hydro and Rural Electrification Project so as to ensure that you extend electricity supply to more rural areas,” Mtolea promised.
“We are happy to hear that the cost of your unit is 40 percent lower than that of Tanesco, but we also challenge you to keep lowering it so as to benefit more of the rural people,” he added.
The lawmakers’ visit to Mwenga Hydro Project was organised by Tanzania Renewable Energy Association (TAREA) in collaboration with African Mini Grids Developers Association (AMDA) and was aimed at sensitizing the lawmakers on the potentials of renewable energy technologies in power generation.