Tanzania’s untapped renewable energy potential can provide solutions to supply the 9 GW of additional power the country will need by 2035, according to a new report.
The Renewable Energy in Africa: Tanzania Country Profile, presented on Thursday, shows that the country’s geothermal power potential surpasses 650 MW and that just 3% of its small hydropower potential, estimated at 480 MW, has been captured so far. In addition, Tanzania has 2,800-3,500 hours of sunshine per year and the solar sector presents good opportunities. There are also “promising wind resources” and several companies are already considering investments in wind farms in the 50 MW-100 MW range.
Tanzania’s installed power capacity in early 2014 was 1,591 MW. Under the business-as-usual situation, the country will need 9 GW of new power by 2035 to meet demand and compensate for older plants. The current Power Sector Master Plan (PSMP) envisages an energy mix with 41% coal, 35% large hydro, 21% oil and gas, and just 3% renewables.
What is important to point out is that Tanzania’s main electricity demand centres are located far from major gas and coal areas so transmission costs and losses are sure to be high. “This — combined with the risks associated with over-dependence on large hydro — makes a portfolio of highly diversified power sources with a wide geographical spread highly desirable,” says the report, prepared by the African Development Bank in partnership with the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and the Government of Tanzania.
The obstacles to renewable energy development in the country that need to be overcome include institutional, regulatory and legal constraints, the lack of capacity and knowledge and economic and financial challenges.