Financial incentives for renewables have been introduced in Tanzania in East Africa. The government has also simplified procedures for investing in wind, solar and small hydro. The changes were included in a new renewables policy plan unveiled at the end of June at a meeting of energy officials from Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda in Arusha. The incentives include a 100% depreciation allowance in a renewable project's first year of operation; exemption from excise duty and sales tax; and reduced customs duty on imported components and equipment used in wind, solar or mini-hydro projects. In addition, the Tanzanian government plans to kick start small renewables projects for rural electrification by requiring independent power producers to generate at least 5% of their electricity from the wind or sun. The government is also seriously considering the provision of subsidies or loans for renewables projects from its energy fund. Conventional forms of electricity are often too expensive for poor rural communities or can be impractical in remote areas, says Ngosi C X Mwihava of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, who presented the plan. Although there is little accurate wind data in Tanzania, the incentives should still allow homes and businesses to be connected to village power systems in the foreseeable future, Mwihava says.
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