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NRECA International Implements Low-Cost Rural Electrification Pilot Projects in Tanzania


The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association‘s international arm has provided electricity to more than 110 million people in rural communities worldwide. NRECA International’s latest electrification projects are in Tanzania, where less than 21 percent of the rural population has access to electric service. This press release explains the projects:

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) announced today that its international program—NRECA International—has contracted with Tanzania’s Rural Energy Agency (REA) to conduct two rural electrification pilot projects in the Kilombero and Mbozi districts. These projects will demonstrate newly-developed, low-cost rural electrification design standards that were proposed in a previous NRECA project co-financed by the REA and the World Bank.

Tanzania’s rural electrification program has historically used urban distribution design standards, which resulted in prohibitively high costs for rural electrification systems. Using low-cost design standards, NRECA International will pilot a design and approach tailored to the needs of rural areas that could reduce costs by 25 to 50 percent.

“Currently, less than 21 percent of the rural population in Tanzania has access to electric service,” said Dan Waddle, senior vice president for NRECA International. “Taking what we learn from these projects, the REA can replicate this model in other regions and dramatically increase the impact of its rural electrification program with limited resources.”

Located in eastern Tanzania, the Kilombero project will provide electricity to 16 villages along a 65 mile (105 km) corridor that lacks an electricity distribution network. The Mbozi project, in southwestern Tanzania, will provide electricity to ten villages by extending existing power lines more than 30 miles (50 km). As a result of these projects, a combined total of 7,256 consumers will have access to electricity for the first time.

The NRECA International project team will work with the REA to manage the material procurement process, the final distribution system design and construction of lines for both projects.

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association is the national service organization representing the nation’s more than 900 private, not-for-profit, consumer-owned electric cooperatives, which provide service to 42 million people in 47 states. NRECA’s international program —NRECA International – has been working in developing countries since 1962. Its global commitment has helped provide electricity to more than 110 million people in 42 countries.

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