Miners in Kikirwa coal mines. Tanzania is exploiting its coal for alternative power generation Photo/FILE By JOHN MBALAMWEZI Monday, April 18 2011 Tanzania is seeking international and local investors for wind electricity generation to boost power output in the country. The eligible firms will be required to connect rural areas with off grid national electricity lines. The project will see firms supply and install wind turbines with a minimum of between two and 10 megawatts for the pilot projects in designated rural areas. Dr. Lutengano Mwakahesya, director general of Rural Energy Agency (REA) told The EastAfrican last week that the accomplishment of the project will help curb power deficit in the country. About 10 local and international firms have shown interest in investing in the project. Tanzania will be offering about $500 as a subsidy for every customer that will be connected to the power produced. "All project developers must provide information indicating that they are qualified and have financial capability to execute the energy project," he said. Tanzania has been facing power shortages for decades, making the country notorious for chronic power rationing, largely due to over dependence on hydro power. The country's general consumption is more than 800MW in which less than 450MW is hydropower and other sources. Recently, the power deficient East African country has been engaging in different contracts with local and international firms capable of generating electricity so as to ease power shortage. Preparations are at an advanced stage for the construction of the first wind power project with capacity to generate 100 megawatts in southern Tanzania highlands come July 2013. Experts and investors claim upon completion of the project it will be the second biggest wind power generation farm in East Africa after Lake Turkana in Kenya which produces 300 megawatts. The wind power project, to be located at Makambako in the newly created Njombe region in the southern highlands in Tanzania, is being carried out jointly by three partners; Sino Tan Renewable Energy Ltd a local company, MCC 20-Hainan International, a Chinese company and Norks Vind Energi of Norway. Wind-based technology is not only environmentally friendly but will also enable investors to draw on benefits of clean development mechanism from carbon credits. In another development, the Mchuchuma project estimated to bear 540 million tonnes of coal deposits, is expected to provide diversity for power generation by producing 600MW of electricity to supplement the current hydro sources in Tanzania. Mchuchuma's coal deposits, are said to be enough to produce electricity for over 100 years.