Tanzania is severely threatened by climate change, yet it is rich in renewable energy resources that can be harnessed to drive development, create skilled jobs, and ensure access to clean, reliable energy for all. The wealth of solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy which Tanzania receives is a valuable natural commodity, which could be used to power areas long affected by energy poverty, reduce reliance on price-volatile fossil fuel imports, and grow local renewable industries. To make all of this possible, informed leadership, ambitious policies and long term commitment are required.
The objective of this study is to provide Tanzanian MPs with strategic policy recommendations that can help to foster investment in off-grid renewable energy in Tanzania. Its findings can be summarised as follows:
Electricity accessibility: With access at about 21% of the population in 2014, Tanzania is among the countries with the lowest per capita connectivity to electricity. Of rural households, which make up over 80% of the total population, only 7% have electric connections.
A growing portion of the off-grid population obtains electricity through stand-alone solar photovoltaic (PV), pico-solar systems and mini-grids. TANESCO operates 20 diesel-based mini-grids, while 13 communities are powered by small-hydro mini grids, and many households use solar home systems (SHS).
Targets: The Tanzania government targets reaching 30% electricity access by the end of 2015, 50% by 2020 and more than 75% by 2033. The targets are ambitious, but unlikely to be achieved. They require significant investment in generation, transmission and distribution systems, and the upcoming budget allocation is not sufficient to enable a 9% increase – let alone the enormous mobilisation of human and logistical resources that would be required in a very short timeframe.
How can Tanzania improve electricity access?
In the short term:
48% of the population can be reached by grid extension;
20% can be served through •renewable mini-grids; and
32% can be served by •stand-alone renewable solutions.