The British High Commissioner to Tanzania Diane Corner

She was addressing energy experts from various countries in Dar es Salaam during the launching of the report on Wind Power in Tanzania on Wednesday.

She said: “In order to ensure sustainable future investment in power generation we cannot simply go on using the same sources of energy….. We need to look at new technologies – and specifically we need to look to renewable energy.”

The envoy recommended investing more in wind power energy, promising USD 50 million for the renewable energy sector in the country.

The promise comes after the Climate Investment Fund to which UK is a major contributor added Tanzania to its list of partner countries and some investors showed interest in investing in wind power.

Corner said the energy sector in the country has gained strategic importance and “attracted a lot of public attention, sometimes negatively, but also positively, given the significant discovery of large quantities of gas offshore Tanzania.”

“Both the private and public sectors have a vital role to play in helping the renewable energy sector flourish in catalysing the sector investment and innovation in low cost clean energy particularly for the rural poor, ” Corner said, emphasising the need for the private sector to be supported in investing in renewable energy.

The UK government has established a private challenge fund called REACT, which every British Pound invested in it by the government is leveraged a further four British Pounds in investment from the private sector.

The fund is expected to deliver low cost clean energy to cover 200,000 households and 50,000 SMEs in poor rural areas, explained Corner.

Corner stressed that the fund will help innovators overcome the financial, planning and delivery hurdles that can hold up progress on renewable energy. It will also enable communities to understand the potential benefits of local renewable energy projects.

She added: “This will encourage investors who have not yet seen the promise the renewable energy holds…it will also stimulate policy change to make existing markets work better and encourage more clean technology in the country.”

She underlined that almost 90 percent of energy used in the country today comes from the traditional biomass fuels -including wood fuel and charcoal describing it has damaging to the environment and inefficient. Rural electrification is estimated at only 7 per cent, and the cost of the infrastructure required in extending the grid is prohibitive.

Corner explained: “There is a huge opportunity in the country for renewable energy projects to meet off grid energy needs.”

Assistant Commissioner for Renewable Energy in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Paul Kiwele noted that there is a need to encourage investors in the sector as it will benefit the country.

“Investors have already shown interest in investing in the wind power project which is positive in securing affordable and sustainable energy for all citizens” he said.

Kiwele said that the government has created good environment for the investors in the sector.

By DAVID KISANGA, The Guardian

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