Tanzania, officially the United Republic of Tanzania, is geographically located in East Africa, bordered by Kenya and Uganda on the north, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the west, and Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique on the south and the Indian Ocean on the East. Its population of 35 million is growing at about 2.8% per year.
Tanzania is one of the 50 Least Developed Countries (LDCs), with an annual per capita income of approximately $250. The main development challenge for Tanzania is widespread and persistent poverty, with 48% of the population living below the basic needs poverty line. The economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, which accounts for 50% of GDP and provides about 85% of exports and employs 90% of the work force.
Overview of Energy Sector
Tanzania has a variety of energy resources, which include natural gas, biomass, hydropower, geothermal, coal, solar and wind power. Much of this energy potential remains unexploited although the Government is promoting the expansion of the energy industry. The current energy demand and supply balance reflects the country's low level of industrialization and development. The vast majority of people do not have access to electricity, and the rural population is nearly completely excluded from this source of modern energy: 2% of rural people and 39% of urban people have access to electricity while 94% of the rural population use biomass. Only 10% of households have access to the national grid, and only 1% is able to use electricity for cooking.
Most energy consumption is for households for cooking, with the bulk being provided by biomass energy sources. Traditional biomass (mainly firewood and charcoal) is the dominant source of energy, accounting for 70% to 90% of total energy demand.
Electricity grid connection - Petroleum, hydropower and coal are the major sources of commercial energy in the country. Electricity generation, transmission and distribution in Tanzania have been through the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO). The company is wholly Government-owned and is responsible for 98% of the country’s electricity supply. Two-thirds, or 381 MW, of Tanzania’s installed capacity is hydro-powered.
Blackouts and power rationing as a result of low water levels in the hydro dams have forced TANESCO to rely on gas-powered generators and to look increasingly at thermal and gas projects for future capacity increases. Hence, the government is encouraging investment to expand generating capacity, distribution systems and developing indigenous sources of energy. The electricity generation system contains two private independent power projects (IPPs), which are connected to the TANESCO grid: Independent Power Tanzania Ltd (IPTL) and Songo Gas (SONGAS).
Rural electrification - There are few prospects that financial resources will become available for TANESCO to undertake electrification of even 20% of the rural households in the foreseeable future. With the ongoing reforms, renewable energies have a fair chance to compete with other conventional forms of energy – but the services will have to be supplied by the private sector. The energy policy allows independent power producers to generate electricity from different sources, particularly for the rural population of Tanzania.
Energy resources and CDM activities
Based on available information, much of the wind resource in Tanzania is located along coastlines, the highland plateau regions of the Rift Valley, on the plains and around the Great Lakes. Currently, wind energy is used to pump water for irrigation and to meet domestic and livestock water needs.
A wind resource assessment at four selected sites has been conducted and wind speeds ranging from 0.9 to 4.8 m/s have been recorded. A very limited number of attempts have been made to harness wind energy for water extraction and there is one known installation of wind turbines for electricity generation of 8.5 kW. There are two project developers planning to establish 50 MW and 200 MW projects in Makambako and Singida areas respectively, both as CDM project activities.
Solar energy is a proven technology and various actors have been trying to commercialize the technology in rural areas. As grid electricity reaches about only 1 % of the rural population in Tanzania, the use of solar electricity seems to be an attractive option as the country enjoys abundant sunlight. The country average annual solar radiation levels are said to range between 4.2-5 kWh/m2 per day.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems have been used for telecommunication, lighting, refrigeration, water pumping and powering electronic equipment at individual residences, schools and health centres/rural dispensaries.
For the last three years, it is estimated that more than 500 kWp of PV has been installed countrywide for various applications in Tanzania, and 30-40% of the total installed capacity consists of Solar Home Systems (SHSs). There exist solar heating water (thermal systems) applications in Tanzania. The majority of existing solar water heaters have been imported and many are not in use. Solar cooking, pasteurizing and advanced solar crop drying technologies application is not practiced.
The country has considerable biomass resources from forest and agricultural residues with an economic possibility of establishing CDM project activities, by producing electricity for industrial and cooking for domestic purposes. With more than 17,000 hectares of sugarcane plantations in addition to the forest and agricultural residues, there is an estimated co-generation potential of more than 315 GWh per year. This is 11% of current national electricity generation. The current energy generation potential from excess bagasse in sugar mills is about 99 GWh per year that is 3.5% of the national electricity generation.
All cogeneration factories are exploring the utilisation of carbon finance and are at different stages of project development. Other agricultural activities include utilization of sisal waste, generation of biogas and producing electricity.
On the household scale, there are attempts to improve efficiencies of cookstoves for both household and institutions.
Tanzania has an estimated 3,800 MW of economic hydro potential capacity. Only 15% of installed capacity has been developed. The country’s hydro potential is estimated at 4,500 MW of which only around 563 MW is developed. It is estimated that 100 GWh/yr could be produced from micro/mini systems. Currently only around 32 GWh/yr is produced from these smaller systems, many of which are private schemes run by religious missionaries.
Urban waste is a fast growing problem driven by rapid urban population growth, which is generally at least twice rate of national population growth. This is evidenced by the increasing illegal dumpsites, irregular collection of garbage, and rising garbage piles and dumps in city alleys, streets and residential areas. Most cities and municipalities have failed to cope with the increasing growth of waste production. Preliminary studies in Tanzania have shown that the amount of energy which can be generated from urban waste is significant.