Tanzania Invests in Fossil Fuels to reduce Hydropower Dependence

Tanzania is moving toward using more fossil fuels in order to make up its electricity shortfall, according to the state-run power utility firm, Tanesco.

Felchesmi Mramba, Tanesco’s Managing Director, said the shortfall was due to drought, which had continued to cripple its hydropower plants.

“The main challenge we have been facing is over reliance on hydro power as the major source of electricity, which is hard to maintain due to unpredictable weather,” Mramba said.

Hydropower plants normally cover about 35 percent of Tanzania’s electricity needs, with gas and oil plants making up most of the difference.

However, as demand grows and water shortages hit hydropower production, Tanesco is investing in more fossil fuel plants to maintain its electricity supply.

Tanzania’s Minister for Energy and Minerals, Sospeter Muhongo, said the government was eager to invest in alternative power production to meet the hydropower shortfall.

In an effort to find a more reliable mix of energy sources, Tanesco is now building more gas-fired power plants, and looking at other renewable energy sources to supply the national grid.

“We are hoping to reduce hydropower dependence to 15 percent once our gas-fired plants become fully operational,” Mramba said. According to Tanesco, gas power plants could provide 60 percent of the country’s electricity needs.

Tanzania’s government in 2014 launched an electricity supply “roadmap” that aimed to boost generating capacity from about 1,590 megawatts to 10,800 megawatts in a decade, largely by building more gas and coal power plants.


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