Tanzania’s Rural Energy Agency joins global summit in Dar Es Salaam

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An off-grid project in Nigeria. East Africa is in a strong position to replicate and exceed successes on the other side of the continent.

Tanzania's Rural Energy Agency (REA) will give the keynote address to around 200 public and private sector attendees at PV Tech’s Solar & Off-Grid Renewables Summit in Dar Es Salaam next week.

The event (5-6 December) will include the country’s regulator, EWURA, the Tanzania Traditional Energy Development Organization (TaTEDO) and all of the major green mini-grid developers. Investors representing more than US$1 billion will also be present in the room.

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Tanzania is fast becoming East Africa's source of new green mini-grid developments and the Rural Energy Agency has been responsible for stimulating the market. A recent report by the World Resources Institute in Washington pinpointed 109 mini-grids – serving over 180,000 people in the country. It has 157.7MW of mini-grid installed capacity including hydro, biomass, hybrid, fossil fuel and solar systems.

2018 will see activity increase with over 50 projects which have been identified by PV Tech's publisher, Solar Media. Of these, many will be based on green generation, mainly solar PV and hydro and this will see both displacement of diesel and an increase in the number of homes and businesses with access to electricity.

“This summit is designed to go beyond the normal conversation about the need for energy access and to showcase some fantastic productive use case studies and really focus on how the international community can collaborate with capital,” said Jo Wilkinson, the event’s director. “We know we need to mobilise both local and international funding to the tune of billions but we also know we need to get there faster so attendees at the event will focus on practical action next week,” she added.

The Rural Energy Agency is an autonomous body which sits under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals. October 2017 saw its tenth year of operation. Its stated role is to promote and facilitate rural energy development. The agency has been working closely with industry in Tanzania to stimulate the mini-grid market.

Policy

In 2008, Tanzania adopted a new regulatory system designed to spur low-cost investment in mini-grids, called the small power producers (SPP) framework, which caused the number of mini-grids to double. The financial system created a feed-in tariff that favoured biomass and hydro development.

However, a 2015 revision to the policy encouraged solar and wind development. On 29 June 2017 Tanzania's EWURA, the national regulator, approved a third generation mini-grid framework.

This new generation mini-grid framework brought in several improvements – such as allowing mini-grids at multiple locations to acquire a single license (over 1MW) or registration for mini-grids using the same technology (less than 1MW); defining eligible customers that need not have their tariffs reviewed by EWURA; providing for provisional registrations for mini-grids; allowing grid-connected mini-grids to operate in islanded mode when power supply is not available from the main grid; and, providing additional clarity and credibility on the calculation of compensation for distribution assets when the main grid connects to a previously isolated mini-grid.

Both government agencies will speak at the Solar & Off-Grid Renewables Summit which takes place on 5-6 December in Dar Es Salaam. Over 200 attendees will be present, including Jumeme, Rift Valley Power, Fenix International, PowerGen, Redavia, Rafiki Power, Engie, Devergy, Ensol, PowerHive, Solarcentury, GIZ, FMO, Crossboundary, Finnfund, Swedfund and many more.

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