Private Sector in US, IRENA in Tanzania Explore Renewable Energy Potential

STEFAN JUNGCURT PH.D.

1 August 2017


26 July 2017: Entities working in developed and developing countries are realizing the potential of wind and solar projects to meet the energy needs of millions. In the US, the Wind Catcher Project in Oklahoma state is on course to be the world’s second largest terrestrial wind farm, while in Tanzania, a report by the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA) explores the potential of the country’s renewable energy resources.

General Electric (GE) Renewable and Invenergy, a privately held renewable energy company, announced plans to extend the Wind Catcher farm located in the far northeastern region of Oklahoma (the Oklahoma Panhandle) to a total capacity of 2 GW, making it the largest onshore wind farm in North America and the second largest globally. The companies will also construct a 350-mile dedicated power line to allow utilities in the states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma to purchase electricity from the Wind Catcher project, eventually reaching up to 1.1 million customers. According to the project website, the wind farm is expected to generate US$7 billion, create 8,400 jobs during construction and avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars off the road. [GE Press Release] [Wind Catcher Project Website]


The Wind Catcher farm could generate US$7 billion, create 8,400 jobs during construction and avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions equivalent to taking 1.3 million cars off the road.


Meanwhile, in Tanzania, renewable energy could cover a large part of the country’s energy needs, providing clean electricity to the 82% of the population not connected to the power grid. These are the main conclusions of the Renewable Readiness Assessment (RRA) for Tanzania, conducted by IRENA. The study shows that Tanzania has excellent wind, solar, geothermal and biomass resources, providing an opportunity for cost effective solutions to the challenges facing the country’s energy sector. Realizing this potential, however, requires reducing policy and regulatory barriers as well as support for partnerships and the private sector, the publication finds.

Specifically, the assessment recommends, among other measures: revising national energy plans to account for renewable resource potentials and reduced technology costs; providing incentives in electricity system operation rules; promoting long-term financing; improving collaboration among the private sector and financial institutions; creating risk mitigation mechanisms for local governments; and providing more training at all levels. According to the analysis, these and other measures could boost the share of renewables in Tanzania’s electricity sector to 78% by 2030, including more than 5 GW of solar power. [Report Abstract] [Renewables Readiness Assessment: United Republic of Tanzania]