Aiming at increased renewable energy in Tanzania

From the 17th of October to the 19th of October the Climate Action Network, a network of NGOs dedicated to the fight against climate change, together with the German aid organization “Brot für die Welt” (Bread for the World) and the world Future Contact hosted a three-day seminar, which consisted of presentations by various experts in the field of renewable energies and group discussions. The topic of the conference was the aim of having 100% Renewable Energies in Tanzania in the next 30 to 40 years. The participants in the conference consisted out of stakeholders from the business sector, like representatives from solar companies, members from aid organizations and NGOs and representatives from the government. International experts from the University of Sydney joined that group in order to contribute the scientific standpoint.

Since Tanzania is experiencing a fast paced growth of both, the economy as well as the population, its energy demand will rise significantly in the near future. The Conference wants to intervene at this crucial stage and convince the government to invest in renewable energies to fulfill Tanzania’s’ growing energy demands.

The basis for this proposal is a simulation conducted by the Institute for a Sustainable Future by the University of Sydney. Assuming that the economic growth just like the population growth Tanzania is experiencing will last for the coming years, this simulation found that investing from an early stage onwards in renewable energies rather than fossil fuels, is not only beneficial to the environment but also economically viable option. Already the prices of energy capacity from renewable energy sources like wind and solar are lower than for fossil fuels. In addition to that, renewable energies bear the chances for social changes. By a widespread distribution of energy through decentralized mini-grids, poverty can be effectively combatted. The positive effects are to be expected especially in the rural areas. The vast majority of these areas are not electrified, because a grid extension in such remote areas would be too costly. But mini grids based on renewable energies are in many cases way cheaper than an extension of the national grid, and make dream of completely electrifying Tanzania, even the hardly accessible rural areas, achievable. By bringing electricity to as much people as possible the bases for a social development are laid. The electricity is accompanied by several business opportunities. From selling phone charges to irrigating crops powered by those mini grids, the chances for the communities and the agricultural sector are numerous.

In the long run the expansion of the renewable energies sector even holds the potential of an expansion of the Tanzanian economy. Several parts of a mini grid could be produced in Tanzania. Parts from sockets and cables to inverters, could gradually being produced in Tanzania, and thus offering an opportunity of economic growth in Tanzania.