Woodfuel use to end in next nine years, govt says

Sacks of Charcoal: The government has raised the commodity levy. PHOTO|FILE

Summary

  • It will be replaced by electricity and natural gas. “We can’t continue depending on it and I am sure by 2025, charcoal use will be the thing of the past,” vowed Energy and Minerals minister Sospeter Muhongo.
  • He and Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC acting managing director Kapuulya Musomba have say heavy energy investments will make the phasing out of woodfuel use, which endangers the environment, possible.

Dar es Salaam. The use of woodfuel will end in 2025, the government has declared.

It will be replaced by electricity and natural gas. “We can’t continue depending on it and I am sure by 2025, charcoal use will be the thing of the past,” vowed Energy and Minerals minister Sospeter Muhongo.

He and Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC acting managing director Kapuulya Musomba have say heavy energy investments will make the phasing out of woodfuel use, which endangers the environment, possible.

Last month the government raised charcoal levy to discourage the use of the commodity.

Tourism and Natural Resources minister Jumanne Magembe told a workshop on sustainable environmental management that the environment was being destroyed as 90 per cent of charcoal was used for cooking in rural areas. He said even in places where other forms of energy were available, charcoal was used. He gave the example of Dar es Salaam, which consumes 60 per cent of all charcoal in the country.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said a policy would be drawn up to tighten the use of charcoal and other activities that affecting forest management.

More than 370,000 hectares of forests are cleared annually in Tanzania to burn charcoal, say experts.

Statistics also show that each one per cent increase in population leads to a 14 per cent rise in charcoal demand.

It is estimated that Tanzania’s charcoal demand is likely to increase from 2.4 million to over 5 million tonnes annually by 2030.

The country is forecast to have 80 million people in the next 15 years from 45 million, according to the 2012 Population and Housing Census.

Prof Muhongo said the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco), TPDC and other private stakeholders were undertaking several energy projects.

“We have the Tanzania Energy Development and Access Expansion Project, the Kiwira-coal-to-electricity project – phase I-200MW and phase II-200MW, fuel from the Kabulo ridge coal reserves, New Kinyerezi 240MW gas-based power plant and Rumakali hydropower Plant - 222 MW,” he said

Under the Rural Energy Agency (REA) phase two to electrify remaining, he hopes the use of charcoal is ending.

He also mentions the 100MW wind power plant in Singida that it is expected also to play a big role in energy supply.

According to him, the target is generate more than 10,000MW in 2025.

Mr Musomba told BusinessWeek that the construction of the 542-kilometre gas pipeline from Mtwara to Dar es Salaam had been completed and a number of households and factories near areas where the project crossed had started using gas.

He also added that plans were underway to set up a Sh430 billion plant to facilitate the transportation of natural gas to households and large-scale factories.

He said more than 100, 000 households in Mtwara, Lindi and Dar es Salaam regions will get gas for domestic uses to replace charcoal.

“We have already conducted feasibility studies to put up the infrastructure to connect the areas and construction is due to start in the next financial year,” he said, noting that the African Development Bank would finance the project.

Tanzania has 55 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves.