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Group hopes to stimulate small hydropower development with new support program

MWANZA, Tanzania 5/1/12 (PennWell) -- A program created by the Global Village Energy Partnership International aims to jumpstart small hydroelectric development in Tanzania.

GVEP says one of the biggest obstacles facing hydropower developers in Tanzania is a lack of financing, so the group is collaborating with the World Bank and Tanzania's Rural Energy Agency to implement its new "Pre-Investment Technical Support" program.

The program will help developers complete feasibility studies, business plans, and environmental and social impact assessments, all of which, GVEP notes, can be costly and time-consuming. GVEP's support will also enable developers to access subsidies through REA and secure loans from local banks, the organization says.

GVEP and REA are collaborating to assist six small hydropower developers, a release from the groups says.

The six projects will have a combined capacity of about 7.5 MW and will be located in Tanzania's Mbeya, Iringa, Ruvuma, Arusha and Kigoma regions. Most will be isolated mini-grids not connected to the country's national transmission network.

"This will help more Tanzanians access energy and create economic opportunities," says GVEP regional manager James Wakaba. "In addition, projects will help reduce global warming, earn carbon credits and create sustainable energy businesses with project development capability."

Contracts to perform work for hydropower projects in Tanzania's Mara River Basin were also recently awarded.


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