Tanzania prioritises clean energy transition

What you need to know:

  • Various studies have highlighted Tanzania’s significant potential in the realm of renewable energy

Dar es Salaam. The Tanzanian government has underscored the importance of transitioning to clean energy, making it a top priority on the national agenda.

With the aim of achieving 750 MW of renewable energy by 2025, Tanzania is tapping into its diverse renewable energy resources, including biomass, mini-hydro, geothermal, solar, and wind.

Despite less than half of the Tanzanian population having access to electricity, governmental initiatives and dedicated organizations are making significant strides in increasing energy access.

The International Energy Agency reports that Tanzania aspires to provide electricity access to 70 percent of its population by 2030, with 50 percent of that power originating from renewable energy sources.

As of 2018, only 29 percent of the Tanzanian population had access to electricity, with rural populations having even lower numbers at 10 percent and poor households at 7 percent.

Considering that around 66.2 percent of the population lives in rural areas, the majority of Tanzanians in need of electricity reside in off-grid regions.

The Tanzanian government, in partnership with other organizations, is keen on addressing this need through innovative renewable energy solutions.

Various studies highlight Tanzania’s significant potential in the realm of renewable energy.

A study conducted by the Institute for Sustainable Futures from the University of Technology Sydney, along with the Climate Action Network Tanzania, Bread for the World, and the World Future Council, projected that Tanzania’s share of renewable energy generation would reach 53 percent by 2020.

The study further indicated that this figure could increase to an impressive 75 percent by 2030.

Moreover, renewable energy was found to be 30 percent cheaper than fossil fuels, making a strong case for implementing 100 percent renewable energy in Tanzania to combat poverty effectively.

Energy access is a vital component in the fight against poverty, as renewable energy can power more schools, improve health services, enhance hygiene, and provide clean water in rural areas.

The World Bank has acknowledged increased electricity access as one of the reasons behind the reduction in poverty rates in Tanzania.

Rural populations have benefited significantly from energy access, with people able to focus on improving their socio-economic welfare.

Women, in particular, have experienced positive impacts, gaining more time for activities beyond household and fieldwork.

Over the past decade, renewable energy in Tanzania has experienced substantial growth, thanks to the government’s efforts and collaboration with other organizations on various renewable energy projects.

These initiatives include the installation of off-grid and grid power systems as well as advocacy work.

One successful initiative, “Lighting Rural Tanzania,” focused on providing solar lanterns and solar home systems to low-income households. With the ambitious goal of enabling access to cleaner and safer off-grid lighting and energy for 6.5 million Tanzanians by the end of 2019, the project managed to provide energy access to 1.2 million people by 2018.

Commissioner for Electricity and Renewable Energy, Innocent Luoga, expressed the government’s aim to have at least 80 percent of Tanzanians utilizing clean energy starting this year and for the next decade.

He highlighted the government’s commitment to strengthen the Tanzania Geothermal Development Company, which has been leading the charge for geothermal energy in the country.

Additionally, solar and wind electricity projects are being pursued in collaboration with the private sector, with the goal of achieving 750 MW of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025. Luoga emphasised that renewable energy not only addresses climate change but also ensures energy security.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa was recently quoted as saying that the government has formulated a national committee to spread public awareness and inform entrepreneurs about the opportunities associated with transitioning to clean energy.

 This move, Mr Majaliwa said, was inspired by President Samia Suluhu’s call to review existing policies, with the aim of eliminating the use of dirty cooking fuel by 2032.

“We will start by enforcing alternative energy usage in large institutions across the country in the education sector and in the army,” he said.

Tanzania’s signing of a solar power project further underscores its commitment to sustainable development and positions the country as a regional leader in renewable energy innovations.

Energy Minister Mr January Makamba expressed optimism about Tanzania’s renewable energy strategy, emphasising the importance of initiating change at the household level by encouraging clean energy use for cooking.

With the government’s determined efforts and collaboration between various stakeholders, Tanzania is poised to make substantial progress in its transition to clean energy, paving the way for a more sustainable and prosperous future.