Diplomatist Special Report - Tanzania Tanzania 2018 - Page 42

Unlocking Tanzania’s renewable energy potential By KANCHI BATRA* O n 15 November 2016, Tanzania joined the International Solar Alliance by signing the Framework Agreement for the establishment of the Alliance at the signing ceremony in Marrakesh alongside the Conference of Parties-22 of the UN Climate Change Convention. Mr. Mbarak Abdul Wakil, Permanent Secretary in the Vice President’s Offi ce, signed the Framework Agreement on behalf of Tanzania. The International Solar Alliance is a league of solar resource-rich countries to address their energy needs by working towards mobilising investments and reducing the costs of fi nance and technology for large-scale deployment of solar energy. This alliance is an initiative of the Prime Minister of India and the President of France that was launched on 30 November 2015 in Paris. ISA is a multi-country partnership organisation with 121 prospective member states, which is based in India. Energy is one of the vital inputs in all aspects of development as it sustains population growth, industrialisation, and urbanisation. In developing countries like Tanzania, electricity supply is generally low compared to its demand; the nation continues to expand its power generation ability to meet the growing demand, in a diversifi ed and sustainable way. Tanzania has untapped potential for renewable energy sources. The country is gifted with diverse renewable energy resources, ranging from biomass and hydropower to geothermal, solar and wind. Such renewable resources would contribute extensively to Tanzania’s energy supply if properly utilised, moving the country closer to reaching middle-income status, as projected in the Tanzania National Development Vision 2025. Hydropower is the only resource considerably in use at a large scale. Moreover, small hydropower has good potential and is predominantly practicable in rural areas. Biomass resources are generally exploited in traditional but unsustainable ways, though there remains great potential due to large amounts of organic waste generated from the agriculture sector. Solar energy is copious with initial efforts being taken to exploit this resource through both off-grid and 42 •TANZANIA grid-connected solutions. Wind resources have been assessed with results showing promise with plans for development in progress. The government of Tanzania recognises the potential contribution of renewable energy to the country’s future energy mix and is steadfast to promote the development of low-carbon energy initiatives by harnessing the country’s renewable-energy resource base. Solar Energy Ranging between 2,800 and 3,500 hours of sunshine per year and a global horizontal radiation of 4–7 kWh per m2 per day, Tanzania has promising levels of solar energy. Solar radiation is particularly high in the central region of the country. To date, about 6 MW of solar off-grid PV has been installed countrywide which are generally used at health centers, schools, villages, hospitals, police stations, and households. They are also used for street lighting and basic electricity needs. The government, through the REA and various donors, has supported a number of solar PV expansion programs. The 1 MW-plant produces about 1,800 MWh/ year. The potential for grid-connected solar PV is estimated to amount to 800 MW. In the short-term, the Power System Master Plan (PSPM) 2007-2031 envisages the construction of 120 MW of PV capacity by 2018. Quite a few private companies have expressed interest in developing 50–100 MW solar plants. Tanzania is positioned in the solar belt world region, with high levels of solar energy resource ranging between 2,800 to 3,500 hours of sunshine per year (i.e. average of 7.5–9.7 hrs/day) and a global radiation of between 4 to 7 kWh/m2 / day (Johanne, 2011; MEM, 2013; Energio-Verda, 2014). In addition, the potential of solar energy in the country is estimated to be 187 Wm-2, with a lower degree of exploitation both for solar PV and solar thermal applications (Mwihava, 2010). * The author is the Business Editor at Diplomatist Magazine