When it comes to power generation and lighting up, Tanzania has big plans as it aims to have six times its current power generation capacity by 2025 via investment in thermal and renewable energy. 2025 is the same year the country has benchmarked as its target to have transitioned from a least developing to a middle income country.
According to the country’s deputy energy minister, Subira Mgalu, “Implementation of various power generation projects will increase the capacity of our national power grid from 1,602 megawatts presently to 10,000 megawatts by 2025.”
President John Magufuli had said in 2018 that the country needed to invest $46.2 billion over the next 20 years to revamp its ageing energy infrastructure and meet soaring electricity demand.
Currently, the East African country has over 57 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas reserves but still faces periodic power shortages as it relies on hydro-power dams in a drought-prone region for about a third of its 1,570 megawatts of installed capacity. These shortages have continuously hurt businesses and investors are beginning to complain.
As of 2016, the average electricity consumption per capita in Tanzania is 108kWh per year, compared to Sub-Saharan Africa’s average consumption of 550kWh per year, and 2,500kWh average world consumption per year.
The government’s long term vision aims at increasing connectivity from 30 percent to 50 percent by 2025, increasing power generation capacity to at least 5,000 MW by 2020; diversification of energy sources for power generation as well as reducing system losses and promoting regional grid interconnectivity.
The country has an installed power generation capacity 1,504 MW, Hydroelectric power generation of 568 MW, thermal power of 925 MW and it plans to boost the power generation capacity to 10,000 MW over the next six years.
In addition to increased power generation, Tanzania has said it plans to export surplus electricity to energy-starved nations in eastern and southern Africa once it has boosted its generation capacity. “We need to have abundant and reliable power from an energy mix that includes hydropower, natural gas, solar and wind,” Mgalu said.
Meanwhile, the government’s plans to boost power through the construction of a $3 billion hydroelectric power plant has been opposed by conservationists who earn that the project may impact the livelihoods of the people and mangroves in the Rufiji Delta.
Last year, the government awarded a tender to a joint venture of Egyptian companies, El Sewedy Electric Co and Arab Contractors, to build a $3 billion hydroelectric plant at Stiegler’s Gorge that will produce 2,100 MW upon completion in three years time.