Thursday, May 5, 2016

Zanzibar Eyes Multiple Sources of Renewable Energy


ZANZIBAR currently relies heavily on electricity imported from Tanzania mainland through submarine cables through Tanga and Dar es Salaam, but some researchers are worried that the supply of the energy from hydropower and Natural Gas may dwindle and become inexpensive for many people in future.
The argument has been taken on board by some young researchers here, suggesting promotion of different types of renewable energy resources-such as wind and solar energy, sea waves and Biogas, as alternative sources of electricity.
Young researchers here have formed and launched 'Renewable Energy Zanzibar Association (REZA) to promote alternative renewable energy comes either directly or indirectly from the Sun, Wind, and domestics waste.
Launching REZA, leaders of the association, promoting renewable energy from available sources will make the Islands be assured of electricity all-the-time, even when power supply from Tanzania mainland is cut.
"With multiple sources of renewable energy, Zanzibar will use the power from solar, Wind, and domestic wastes for heating and lighting homes, Schools and other buildings," said the Chairperson of REZA Mr Mussa Haji Mussa.


He also informed the gathering at the launching ceremony which included opening of REZA office, Michenzani area, that having reliable and affordable power in homes would encourage students to study at night and a variety of commercial and industrial uses, which will eventually minimize unemployment problem to many youths," said Mr Mussa argues that there is completely no justification for Zanzibar to have dark streets at night, and most of its households, and schools still are without electricity yet the Islands have a big advantage for renewable energy.

"We are prepared to promote research in renewable energy, with consideration of protecting environment. We have sufficient sun and wind throughout the year, enough to generate power for our people.
The government should invest in the renewable energy," said Mr Mussa before his colleague Ms Ftari Mzee Ali unveiled the objectives of REZA. The objectives of REZA registered last year include promoting sustainable development of Renewable Energy through advancing knowledge and skills using better experiences.
"To manage knowledge and publicize information; facilitate market development of Renewable Energy technologies, applications, services and support. The creation of an enabling environment and framework for a sustainable Renewable Energy market, and other objectives," said Ms Ali.
She also informed people that other objectives of the association includes to support and encourage best practice, including development and enforcement of standards codes of conduct; build network to the members and other key actors in the public and private sector and promote local manufacture of Renewable Energy products and enterprise development in the Renewable Energy Sectors.
In his speech at the launching ceremony, the guest of Honor- the deputy Minister of Land, Water, Energy and Environment Mr Juma Makungu Juma welcomed the association saying the government would support it for the development of the energy sector.
"We have been impressed by REZA particularly its objectives which includes conservation of environment, and aiming at reducing unemployment burden facing the country. Let us work together," Mr Juma said.
He appealed to the members and management of the association to work hard and achieve their goal of promoting alternative source of energy as the Islands struggles to make its dream of becoming middle income country a success.
The deputy minister said education and public awareness on the protection of environment remain crucial in minimizing increasing negative impact of climate change and human development.
He said Zanzibar "requires multiple sources renewable energy for its development programs which include attracting more investors to construct light industries." Officers from REZA, the first ever association to deal directly with renewable energy, said their roles at this time of operation would include advising the Government on matters relating to renewable energies.
Other roles includes to promote, coordinate and monitor social projects based on renewable energies; transfer knowledge about renewable energy to the people of Zanzibar and to facilitate national, regional and international cooperation in technology development and transfer.
REZA, a non-governmental organization, regard itself as a nonprofit that brings together actors/ stakeholders in the renewable energy sectors to promote the accessibility and uses of renewable energies in Zanzibar. "We need the government to start leveling the ground for renewable energy.
Experts say it is possible to start generating power from the Sun, wind, and waste. Let the government be serious," said Ms Fatma Abdul-Aziz, a student, studying ICT. However she observed that investing in Wind, Waste, and Solar is expensive, but running it becomes cheaper and reliable compared to diesel/oil generators.
The Principle Secretary (PS) Ministry of Land, Water, Energy and Environment Mr Ali Halili Mirza says the government welcomes investors to have alternative power to the current hydropower from the national Grid.
"The government welcomes ideas and plans to invest in renewable energy; Wind, solar, sea waves, waste, or any other source of energy," said Mirza. However, an official from the Zanzibar Electricity Corporation (ZECO) says some studies shows that hydro-electricity remains cheaper than Solar, Waste and Wind, and that supply of electricity from the national Grid will be stable in the near future.
"Some studies show that solar and wind projects for energy are too expensive, and Zanzibar will soon have no problem of power supply because a lot of natural gas has been discovered in the mainland which will be used for electricity production," he observed asking for anonymity.
In recent years, power from the mainland had not been reliable, sparking repeatedly pressure from people including Politicians and investors to the government to find alternative source of energy so that the islands gets sustainable supply of power.
Electricity is considered an important factor to improve the lives of people in general and of the elderly and disabled in particular.
For the most part, the income of electrified households using network electricity is higher than that of households without electricity. Many studies have shown that access to electricity helps create jobs in rural areas, as households take up new trades.
Most rural areas are also engaged in agriculture, and therefore households need electricity for irrigation and crop production, and for small industrial commercial activities like bricks manufacturing and ice making.
Source:  Daily News

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