More than 200 students out of the expected 645 scholars are undergoing training at the Kikuletwa Renewable Energy Training and Research Center in Hai District of Kilimanjaro Region.
The Coordinator of the Renewable Energy Training and Research Center, Engineer Sithole Edwin Mwakatage, reveals here that soon more students from Kenya and Ethiopia will be joining the Kikuletwa Campus.
Engineer Mwakatage was briefing the new World Bank’s Country Director for Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, Nathan Belete who visited the Arusha Technical College.
As it happens the World Bank has injected 37 billion/- into the Kikuletwa Campus which operates under the Arusha Technical College (ATCA) as a sub-regional training centre for renewable energy.
“The World Bank is supporting the Kikuletwa Renewable Energy initiative to the tune of US $16.25 million,” explained Engineer Mwakatage adding that the project is being executed within the framework of the Eastern Africa Skills for Transformation and Regional Integration Project (EASTRIP).
On his part, the World Bank’s Country Director for Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, Nathan Belete, praised Tanzania for the ambitious project, saying he was impressed by the fact that the project looks bigger than the invested funds.
“It seems you are good at utilizing all the available funds and resources to come up with profitable projects, especially the ones that empower the youth on the continent,” pointed out Mr Belete and assuring that the World Bank will continue supporting such initiatives.
But other than training, the Kikuletwa Center is also a power generating plant capable of producing 1.7 Megawatts of electricity which will be auxiliary power to be supplied into the National grid as from 2022.
This strategy will not only enable Tanzania to train its technicians on site but also train other candidates from the East and Central African Region.
Previously technicians used to have to go to Zambia for such training, but Lusaka only provides short-term training and focuses just on hydroelectricity.
Kikuletwa Center offers full-time training and covers all forms of renewable energy.
The new renewable energy training centre trains students in several technical fields, including hydro; Solar; Wind as well as organic Bioenergy and is intended to be a hub for such training in East Africa.
Undertaken by the Arusha Technical College (ATC), the Renewable Energy Training and Research Center at Kikuletwa plays the role of East Africa’s centre of excellence in renewable energy and is rooted at the same grounds and premises formerly owned by Tanzania Electricity Supply Company (TANESCO).
The Arusha Technical College Rector Dr Mussa Chacha said the Kikuletwa centre transforms Tanzania into a Centre for Excellence in pioneering renewable energy initiatives on the continent.
“The ATC is also lucky to be the first institution that the New World Bank Director gets to visit in the Region,” says Dr Chacha.
The ATC is currently providing training in the following areas: principles of operation and maintenance of hydropower plants, principles of design and maintenance of electricity transmission and distribution, programmable logic controllers (PLC) for hydropower engineers, and design, installation, service and maintenance of solar photovoltaic systems.
This project also benefits from the support of Norway, which injected 8.3 billion Euros in 2014.
For five years, this support has made it possible to set up training in hydroelectric power in the Kikuletwa training centre, says the rector.
The Eastern Africa skills for transformation and regional integration programme, which is being implemented in Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia, aims to develop specialised technical skills in priority sectors, including transport, energy, agricultural processing, manufacturing and information and communications technology.
Tanzania plans to open 42 technical training centres in other areas throughout the country.
Constructed in the 1930’s the Kikuletwa plant was one of the first hydroelectric power plants in Tanzania.
It is located at a section where the Kware river from Mount Kilimanjaro meets the Kikuletwa river from Mount Meru, providing good hydrological conditions for hydropower production.
Kikuletwa Power Station provided electricity to Arusha and Moshi municipalities for many years and later supplied electricity into the national grid but ceased operation in 1984.
Arusha Technical College rehabilitated and developed the power station to start serving as an international Hydro-electricity Training center, supplying the national grid.
Previous feasibility studies have indicated that the entire Kikuletwa cascade may potentially provide up to 17 MW of electricity.
The college is also using Kikuletwa as a training centre for hydropower technicians and artisans and as a test centre for its own micro-turbine generator.
Hydroelectricity is the most widely used form of renewable energy, accounting for 16 percent of global electricity generation – 3,427 terawatt-hours of electricity production in 2010, and is expected to increase about 3.1 percent each year for the next 25 years.
Hydropower is produced in 150 countries, with the Asia-Pacific region generating 32 percent of global hydropower in 2010. China is the largest hydroelectricity producer, with 721 terawatt-hours of production in 2010, representing around 17 percent of domestic electricity use.