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Zanzibar ponders power generation from Indian Ocean currents

Dar Es Salaam, 01/05 - Zanzibar is considering the possibility and feasibility of turning Indian Ocean currents and waves into electric power to make the utmost of its geological position as an archipelago off east Africa.

If the initial study proves viable, the Zanzibar Utilities Company will build a power plant on the Pemba Island, one of the three major islands consisting the archipelago, which enjoys a history of strong currents and tidal waves.

The company expects to resort to power generated from tidal waves or ocean currents to turn the table against its loss-making situation. It now spends an average of 200 million Tanzanian shillings (200,000 US dollars) per month to generate power via gas turbines whereas it collects 60 million shillings (60,000 dollars) for its power supply.

Ocean energy constitutes to a large unexploited source of renewable energy and wave power therefore commands a good economical potential. But the challenge lies in the fact that the wave is in slow motion whereas the energy demand can peak in high density.

The Zanzibar Utilities Company will wait for the initial study to decide on whether to benefit from the wave power or the tide power, which dictate two different energy converters to transform wave energy or tide energy into electric power.

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