by Genevieve Kules
Tanzania is challenged by poor energy access in rural parts of the country. Access to energy in these rural communities will require off-grid and mini-grid projects. The Tanzanian government has set a goal of establishing 1.3 million electrical connections by 2022, especially in rural areas. This would raise their connected population to about 35% from 20% in urban areas and 7% in rural ones. Tanzania’s energy goals come around the same time as the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) are setting goals for the continent and the world. The UN stated their goal of Sustainable Energy for All by 2030 and the AU began the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative in 2015. The African Development Bank (AfDB) has been supportive in achieving these goals. In January they approved a grant of $870,000 to support off-grid energy systems in Tanzania.
Some of the options already used in Tanzania for energy conservation and off-grid or mini-grid production are solar, multifunctional platforms, and improved mud stoves. Improved mud stoves have cut down on deforestation by decreasing the number of bundles of wood needed to burn a stove from 3 to 1, and increasing the efficiency of cooking on these stoves, although with the right technology you could probably charge your cellphone with energy produced by burning wood. Solar energy is the major off-grid / mini-grid energy generation method discussed so far. Multifunctional platforms are basically diesel engines that can power machinery, say for extracting palm oil, and produce energy to light about 250 light bulbs. Other off-grid energy production processes that have not yet been proposed for Tanzania include geothermal, wind, and micro hydro power. Many energy initiatives similar to the one by Tanzanian government are currently popping up across the continent of Africa and around the world.
Richards, James. “AfDB Support for Tanzania’s Off-grid Energy Plans.” Public Finance International. EY Building a Better Working World, 6 Jan. 2017. Web. 31 Jan. 2017. <http://www.publicfinanceinternational.org/news/2017/01/afdb-support-tanzanias-grid-energy-plans>.
Obiang, Olivia Ndong. “AfDB Scaling up Support for Africa’s Development at AU Summit.”African Development Bank Group. N.p., 30 Jan. 2017. Web. 31 Jan. 2017. <https://www.afdb.org/en/news-and-events/article/afdb-scaling-up-support-for-africas-development-at-au-summit-16683/>.