EU funds feasibility study on high voltage lines and distribution substations to support rural electrification in Tanzania


The Government of Tanzania through the Rural Energy Agency (REA) is determined to provide sustainable access and connection to electricity through construction of electricity infrastructures for...

Tanzania is one of the largest countries in East Africa covering 950,000 km2 with an estimated population in 2016 of 56 million. The total installed capacity for electricity generation is 1,600 MW in the National Grid and 80 MW in off grid networks.

Even though the rural population accounts for about 80%, electricity access to rural communities is 70% as per the Energy Access Situation Report of 2020 in Tanzania Mainland from the National Bureau of Statistics.

The Government of Tanzania through the Rural Energy Agency (REA) is determined to provide sustainable access and connection to electricity through construction of electricity infrastructures for rural electrification in order to increase social and economic development.

The European Union has been financing a project called “Feasibility Study for High Voltage Lines and Distribution Substations to Support Rural Electrification Initiatives”. This study is of strategic importance to plan and implement rural electrification projects, especially through grid extension, but also analysing options for decentralized electrification solutions.

The Ministry of Finance and Planning is the contracting Authority on behalf of the Government. The project’ scope covers almost 2’550 km of high volt-age lines and 51 transmission and distribution substations, including newly conceived (36) and extended or enlarged (15) ones.

Studio Pietrangeli (Italy) has been contracted to carry out the feasibility study and to ensure the capitalisation and sharing of knowledge related to the implementation of the project. The study is considered a good opportunity to train TANES-CO and REA relevant staff by attaching them to the consultant as counterpart staff.

The Feasibility Study started with preparatory activities such as visits and consultation with stakeholders, collection and analysis of existing basic data and previous studies.

While completing the update of the load demand forecast, the Consultant went to the field to conduct site surveys, designed activities aimed at identifying the most promising schemes for the development of high voltage rural electrification, and also provided training in various locations in Tanzania.

The Feasibility Study includes an in-depth network study of the two reference scenarios: the existing network, including generation plants and the transmission system already built and presently in operation; and the network at the target year 2040, which also includes planned generation plants, lines and substations.

The subsequent activities of the conceptual design focused on detailing and optimization of the preferred options, as well as geotechnical surveys.

The study has now been completed including preparation of Bidding Documents to launch international tenders for the construction of the newly planned facilities. After having assessed the technical, economic and financial feasibility and viability of the new infrastructure tailored to the reinforcement of the sub transmission system the results of the study will allow the Government of Tanzania to raise funds for its implementation.

The engineering studies were completed end of July 2020 after eighteen months of work. Among/ the main challenges were the large number of substations to be conceived/upgraded and the length of transmission lines spread over wide distances in Tanzania mainland, from southern (Kilwa, Masasi, Mbinga, Mbeya, Chunya, etc.) to northern districts (Tarime, Bukombe, Bariadi, Kiteto etc.).

The project stakeholders have been involved with an in-situ campaign of awareness actions and advertisements of various types such as leaflets, brochures, conferences and meetings. Moreover, the project has been covered by TV and radio broadcasting activities in Tanzania.

Notwithstanding the international travel and health due to COV-ID-19, the parties have managed to overcome this challenge and achieve the assignment’s objectives within the contractual timeframe. Finally, twenty five Technical Staff from the Ministry of Energy (MoE), TANESCO, REA, National Environment Management Council (NEMC) and EWURA, have received a 4-day extensive training on power transmissions in Dar es Salaam from July 27th to 30th. The enthusiastic feedback from the participants collected during the course has been the main indicator of the successful achievement of the training’s targets.


National Authorising Officer at the Ministry of Finance and Planning


The Rural Energy Agency (REA) and the Tanzania Electric Supply Company Ltd (TANESCO)


European Union (EU)

Key Stakeholders

The Ministry of Energy, the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA), the National Environment Management Council (NEMC)


Studio Ing. G. Pietrangeli, Italy