What you need to know:
- Established in March 2023, the association aims to bridge the awareness gap and accelerate progress towards the government's ambitious 2033 target of ensuring 80 percent of cooking energy comes from clean sources.
Dar es Salaam. Tanzania's long-held aspiration to transition to clean energy sources for cooking is gaining traction thanks to the efforts of the newly formed Tanzania LPG Association (TZLPGA).
Established in March 2023, the association aims to bridge the awareness gap and accelerate progress towards the government's ambitious 2033 target of ensuring 80 percent of cooking energy comes from clean sources.
The journey has been fraught with challenges, chief among them being the dominance of firewood and charcoal as primary energy sources in Tanzanian homes.
However, the coming in of TZLPGA signals a newfound impetus for accelerating this transition.
Speaking at a seminar held by the TZLPGA on Friday, February 9, 2024, the director general of the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA), Dr James Andilile, stressed the significance of the TZLPGA in driving tangible progress towards the government's clean energy goal.
"This association is an important stakeholder in achieving the government's goal of increasing the use of clean energy for cooking."
The data presented by EWURA paints a promising picture of increasing LPG imports, indicating a shift towards cleaner cooking fuels.
The data shows LPG imports increased nearly 13-fold in the last decade. According to the regulator, 293,000 metric tonnes of LPG were imported in 2023, compared to around 20,000 metric tonnes that were brought into the country in 2010.
Until December 2023, there were 11 licences for companies that sell LPG wholesale, 101 licences for companies that distribute the product, and more than 2000 licences for those that sell it at retail.
The trend demonstrates progress in efforts to ensure that the government achieves its 2033 goal for the adoption of clean cooking by Tanzanians.
Despite the increase, illegal filling, a lack of knowledge among key stakeholders, and inadequate storage capacity needed to be addressed.
"We see that this association is an important stakeholder in achieving the goal that the government has set for itself. Your presence will help in achieving the government's dream of increasing the use of clean energy for cooking.
However, challenges such as illegal filling, a lack of knowledge among stakeholders, and inadequate infrastructure persist, necessitating concerted action.
Dr Andilile highlighted the need for expanding filling station coverage across the country and ensuring pricing aligns with service delivery costs to enhance accessibility.
"Currently, there are only 37 filling stations in the whole country, and most of them (more than 50 percent) are situated in Dar es Salaam. This amount does not meet the needs according to the size of our country," said Dr Adilile.
The Executive Director of TZLPGA, Mr Amos Jackson, emphasised the pivotal role of the LPG sector in addressing multifaceted challenges such as accessibility, affordability, and sustainability of clean energy.
"The LPG sector is poised to solve energy challenges and contribute to improving health, protecting the environment, and mitigating the effects of climate change. We want to support the government in its quest for clean energy," he asserted.
With its motto, “Empowerment through Information,” the one-year-old association aims to play a frontline role in changing the modus operandi in the use of clean energy as well as elevating the contribution of the private LPG sector to the country’s growth.
“We believe that when these challenges are addressed, they help to achieve the government’s goal of transitioning to clean energy by 2033,” said Mr Jackson.
For a long time, no institution or body would help the government promote the use of clean energy; experts believe this was one of the reasons why many Tanzanians did not adopt clean cooking.
"We aim to unite the voices and efforts of our members to address challenges, collaborate with regulatory institutions, and provide professional training to enhance safety,” said Jackson.
“We want to increase LPG usage from 2.6 kilogrammes per person per year (in 2022) to 10 kilogrammes per person per year by 2033,” the executive director assured.
The situation on the ground
Currently, 90 percent of the primary energy supply to Tanzanian homes is firewood and charcoal, with serious impacts on health and forests.
About 97 percent of households are exposed to high levels of smoke from indoor cooking, and each year, more than 33,000 people die prematurely from air pollution in the home.
Cooking with biomass is a major driver of deforestation, as it is in many African countries. Between 2015 and 2020, Tanzania lost 470,000 hectares of forest each year, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Association. And between 2000 and 2020, it lost 11 percent of its tree cover, Global Forest Watch estimates.
It is estimated that only five percent of Tanzanians have adopted clean energy use, and experts believe the association is better positioned to propel the government's vision.