Dar es Salaam. Two rural electrification projects from Tanzania have won international awards, thanks to their contribution towards integrating remote communities in bettering developing countries’ economies.
Rift Valley Energy (RVE) and Ensol Tanzania won the awards during an “Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) Investment Forum” that was held in the Island of Sicily in Italy last week, the companies said in their joint statement on Thursday, March 22.
According to the statement, the three-day ARE forum – which started on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 – attracted high-level representatives from developing organizations, the private sector, financing bodies and technology providers from Africa, Asia, Latin-America and Europe.
“It was notable that out of 7 categories, two Tanzanian Rural Electrification Projects were selected as winners for the 2018 ARE Awards for their respective categories,” the statement reads.
According to the statement, RVE won in category four – which is specifically about “Private Sector, Developing Countries” - of the awards.
The company was specifically awarded for its innovative, integrated 4 MW Mwenga Hydro and Rural Electrification Project, which supplies 24/7 industrial capacity power to Tanesco. The company also won due to its own 300 km rural electrification network in the Mufindi and Kihansi areas. Through the network, the company supplies green electricity to about 3,000 households, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and industrial connections (such as back-up power for the local tea industry, and irrigation pumps).
In addition, the integration of a mobile-phone based, pre-paid electricity payment service was emphasized by the Award-Jury, as an innovative concept to better serve their customer needs.
“I remember years ago, when we started our company, with our first hydro-project in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania, there was literally nothing but a silently flowing river, almost 100 km away from the National grid, and in between 34 villages without access to electricity. Today, when I drive through that region, along these 300 km of power lines, I can see activity: with dozens of businesses, that have blossomed in the Mufindi and Kihansi areas, most of them using electricity in order to earn a better living,” the RVE director and co-founder, Franz Kottulinsky said.
In its side, Ensol Tanzania Limited, was won in category 6 of the awards. The category - the “Best Off Grid Project” – specifically went to Ensol on account of the company’s Mpale Village 48kW Solar Hybrid Microgrid Project located up on the Usambara Mountains, in Mpale village, Korogwe, Tanga.
Being one of the only local indigenous companies developing micro/mini grids in Tanzania, Ensol worked with International technical and financial partners to bring access to electricity to more than 3000 residents of the village and surrounding areas for the first time.
“To be able to maneuver from all the challenges in developing and implementing these kind of projects and later get recognized by fellow stakeholders in ARE is a big achievement. We thank our technical partners, TTA of Spain and Studer of Switzerland, together with our financial partners, EEP, UNCDF and Power Africa for making this possible. Importantly, we thank local authorities in Korogwe district, Mpale village administration and all Mpale village residents as we worked together to make the project successful,” said the Ensol co-founder and director for projects, Mr Prosper Magali.