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Zanzibar gets approval for USD142 million ZESTA Project [free access]

June 15, 2021

The World Bank has approved USD142 million of funding for the implementation of the Zanzibar Energy Sector Access and Transformation (ZESTA) Project, which aims to modernise Zanzibar's electricity network and integrate the upcoming renewable energy (RE) installations into the grid. The Zanzibar Ministry of Water, Energy and Minerals and Zanzibar Electricity Corporation (ZECO) are implementing ZESTA. The project will provide 400,000 people on the main island in the Tanzanian archipelago of Zanzibar with access to electricity.


Of the total approved funding, USD117 million will be provided in the form of a credit from the International Development Association (IDA), USD22 million in the form of a loan from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), and the remaining USD3 million will provided as a grant.


Under ZESTA, plans are to build the first utility-scale 18 MWp solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in the Makunduchi area. ZECO will also build an interconnection line to the grid, at a total cost of USD16.5 million. The future solar plant will have a 40 MWh battery storage system, which will be connected to a 132 kV substation to stabilise Zanzibar’s power grid. The electricity storage unit will be valued at USD17 million.


The grid will be supported by a 132 kV submarine cable, which will connect the main island to the Tanzanian mainland with a transmission capacity of 45 MW. ZESTA also involves upgrading the Unguja power grid which is part of the ZECO’s network.