Tanzania Energy Situation

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6.3070° S, 34.8540° E

Total Area (km²): It includes a country's total area, including areas under inland bodies of water and some coastal waterways.


Population: It is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship--except for refugees not permanently settled in the country of asylum, who are generally considered part of the population of their country of origin.

65,497,748 (2022)

Rural Population (% of total population): It refers to people living in rural areas as defined by national statistical offices. It is calculated as the difference between total population and urban population.

63 (2022)

GDP (current US$): It is the sum of gross value added by all resident producers in the economy plus any product taxes and minus any subsidies not included in the value of the products. It is calculated without making deductions for depreciation of fabricated assets or for depletion and degradation of natural resources.

75,732,311,666 (2022)

GDP Per Capita (current US$): It is gross domestic product divided by midyear population

1,192.77 (2022)

Access to Electricity (% of population): It is the percentage of population with access to electricity.

42.74 (2021)

Energy Imports Net (% of energy use): It is estimated as energy use less production, both measured in oil equivalents. A negative value indicates that the country is a net exporter. Energy use refers to use of primary energy before transformation to other end-use fuels, which is equal to indigenous production plus imports and stock changes, minus exports and fuels supplied to ships and aircraft engaged in international transport.

10.73 (2014)

Fossil Fuel Energy Consumption (% of total): It comprises coal, oil, petroleum, and natural gas products.

14.38 (2014)

Source: World Bank

Situation Analysis and Framework Conditions

Tanzania has abundant and diverse indigenous energy resources which are yet to be fully exploited. The sources include; wood fuel and other biomass fuels, hydropower, natural gas, coal, uranium, wind, geothermal and solar[1].

Tanzania’s energy supply depends mainly on biomass. 78.4% of the total population have access to the grid electricity while households connected are 37.7%. The households electrified by solar photovoltaic technology are 30.4% [Rural Energy Agency April 2020]. 

As a total, biomass makes up close to 90%  of the total primary energy consumption in Tanzania. Unfortunately, this leads to the deforestation of 100,000 h per year, of which only about a quarter is reforested.[2] 63.5% of the households in Tanzania Mainland use firewood as the main source of energy for cooking, followed by charcoal 26.2%, liquified petroleum gas 5.1% and electricity 3.0%. Other cooking energy comprises of 2.2% [Rural Energy Agency April 2020].

Other energy sources are petroleum, which makes up 7.8% of total primary energy consumption, natural gas (2.4%), hydropower (1.2%) and coal/peat (0.3%).[3] About 6.6 per cent of primary energy needs to be imported, primarily from Uganda (17 MW), Zambia (8 MW), and Kenya (1 MW) [Ministry of Energy June 2020].

Electricity makes up only 0.6% of total energy consumption.[4] In 2008, 4,414 GWh of grid electricity was generated in Tanzania, of which 2,655 GWh from hydropower, 1600 GWh from natural gas, 119 GWh from coal and 40 GWh from petroleum. Total installed capacity amounted to 1,219 MW, of which 561 MW was hydropower and 658 MW thermal power. The installed capacity by 2019 was 1565.72MW consisting of hydro 573.70MW, natural gas 892.72MW, liquid fuel 88.80MW and biomass 10.50MW [Ministry of Energy June 2020].

So far 73.2% of urban and 24.5% of rural areas are electrified [Rural Energy Agency April 2020].

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Problem Situation

About 50% of the population lives in poverty, out of which 35% is unable to access all of the basic needs including energy services. Available data reveals that the poor spend about 35% of their household income on energy while the better off spends only 14%. Lack of access to modern energy services creates a vicious cycle of poverty for rural communities due to continued limited production opportunities and social facilities[5].

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Renewable Energy

Solar Energy

The Tanzanian solar energy sector has been fast growing in recent years and solar products are now a common sight in shops and markets throughout the country. Several factors have contributed to this growth. On the supply side, ever-increasing work on research and development has greatly reduced the prices of solar-PV products worldwide. The prominence of China in producing solar panels at a mass scale has reduced prices even further.  With 65.3% of rural households having access to electricity, there seems to be specific potential for solar solutions in these areas. Past awareness-raising campaigns by government and NGOs (like Sida/MEM and UNDP/GEF Mwanza) has helped raise knowledge and understanding of solar products among consumers. The decision by the Government of Tanzania to drop VAT and East Africa Community to drop duties on principle solar products has made the solar market very interesting to entrepreneurs and many organisations and commercial institutions dealing in solar products have started their activities in recent years.

Located in the ‘solar belt’, most parts of Tanzania have abundant solar resources throughout the whole year with the low point occurring in July. The lowest annual average is 15 MJ or 4.2 kWh/m2/day and the highest is 24 MJ or 6.7kWh/m2/day. With such high levels of solar energy resources, Tanzania is naturally suitable for application of solar energy as a viable alternative source for modern energy services supply for rural electrification and in general.

Different types of solar technologies exist, with different market dynamics and technological solutions for each one of them:

  • Off-Grid Solar Lighting or Pico-Solar Products (1-10W): small, affordable and easy to use - often handheld - products that provide basic lighting and phone charging services to off-grid households
  • Solar Home Systems (SHS, 10-200W): a system that includes a solar panel, battery and inverter that can provide a household with electricity for several devices like light bulbs, TV and a small refrigerator. These systems can also be used for institutions like schools and hospitals.
  • Mini-Grids for rural electrification: system with several large solar panels, that provides electricity to a number of households in a rural community.
  • Solar for power generation: large solar systems set up to contribute electricity to the national grid.

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Off-Grid Solar Lighting or Pico-Solar Products

In recent years, many small scale solar lighting products have entered the Tanzanian market. These off-grid lighting products or systems that are stand-alone, rechargeable and can be installed, assembled and used easily without requiring assistance from a technician have come to be known as ‘pico-solar’ products. They range from solar lanterns to small solar home systems (SMS), from 5 up to 100 euros in price and typically consist of a small solar panel, a rechargeable battery and an LED bulb. Entry-level pico-solar products can only be used for lighting, but the more advanced systems also offer phone charging services. Because of the affordability and ease of use of these products, they are very well suited for rural off-grid households and can serve as an ideal replacement for kerosene lamps that are currently being used for lighting in most Tanzanian rural households. The solar lights can also give school children the chance to study in the evening.

Some general observations about the off-grid solar lighting sector in Tanzania:

  • There is a high willingness to acquire solar lighting products among rural Tanzanian household, especially when the device can also be used for phone charging.
  • General awareness about the products varies between different parts of the country, depending on awareness-raising campaigns about solar PV that have been undertaken previously.
  • VAT and duty exemptions are in place for all solar products in Tanzania, making it a viable and attractive market for suppliers and retailers.
  • The main concern is the huge influx of poor quality or fake solar products to the local markets throughout the country.
  • Distribution of fairly priced, high-quality solar lighting products to off-grid communities is lacking.
  • After-sales services and warranty systems are often not in place or impossible to access for off-grid households.

Many of these issues are being addressed by Lighting Africa.

Lighting Africa

Lighting Africa is a joint initiative of IFC and the World Bank that aims to accelerate the development of markets for clean off-grid lighting products in sub-Saharan Africa. The program mobilizes the private sector to build sustainable markets that will provide millions of people in Africa not connected to grid electricity with clean, affordable, quality lighting products, most of which are solar-powered.

The Lighting Africa program was launched in September 2007 with the goal of catalysing markets for clean, modern off-grid lighting products to light up the homes and businesses of 250 million people by 2030. The program is active in Tanzania and 10 other countries in Africa and has to date contributed to more than 7.7 million people across Africa enjoying clean, affordable, solar-powered lighting.

The Lighting Africa program consists of five main components:

  1. Quality Assurance. Establishing quality specifications and developing testing methodologies to promote the manufacture and distribution of quality products
  2. Market Intelligence. Informing the design of suitable products for the African market
  3. Business Support and Access to Finance. Assisting manufacturers and distributors in achieving their business goals and supporting new business models to deliver low-cost and high-quality off-grid lighting and supporting distributors and consumers to locate potential sources of funding
  4. Consumer Education. Generating awareness about and building demand for modern off-grid lighting products
  5. Policy and Regulation. Engaging governments to create an enabling policy and regulatory environment and supporting them in integrating modern off-grid lighting in their electrification plans

The activities of Lighting Africa in Tanzania started in 2008, with an initial market assessment report, followed by the partnering up with the Tanzania Rural Energy Agency (REA) to undertake a competitive solicitation in 2010 aimed at selecting suppliers of alternative lighting products that would receive funding for targeted distribution campaigns. The implementation of these campaigns was followed by a Policy Report Note that was agreed upon by Lighting Africa sponsors and the Government of Tanzania in 2012. In 2014 the Lighting Africa Tanzania Market Intelligence Report was released.

An overview of the main Lighting Africa approved manufacturers of pico-solar products that can be found on the Tanzanian market in 2014:

A list of some of the main import-suppliers of Lighting Africa approved solar lighting products in Tanzania:

Pre-Paid Solar Energy Services

Another approach to providing clean and affordable solar lighting to off-grid households is through provision of pre-paid solar energy services. Since 2012 such innovative services have been offered to Tanzanian households by the private sector. Examples of two of these (social) enterprises are given below.


To connect up to 10,000 homes with solar power is a part of the business plan of Mobisol Tanzania Ltd., a subsidiary of Germany’s Mobisol GmbH. In the areas of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Manyara, and Mwanza, the company’s solar home systems shall electrify those not grid-connected. Already for January 2013, 600 new systems were to arrive at the Kakute Ltd./Mobisol headquarters in Arusha. The company began its Tanzanian ventures in 2013 with a current client base of 2,300 in Arusha, according to managing director Allan Demello. Customers pay off their home solar systems in monthly installations via their mobile phones while Mobisol guarantees a one-year warranty for lights and 20 years for the solar panels. The contract also includes free servicing by qualified technicians during the duration of the warranty.

Off-Grid Electric

Off Grid Electric provides affordable, reliable energy services (M-POWER) to individuals and communities that lack such power. It utilizes distributed solar to sell power as a service to customers who suffer from an expensive grid, an unreliable grid, or have no grid access at all. The company borrows the mobile phone industry’s business model and applies it to the provision of light and electric power. It does this through an innovative approach whereby customers pre-pay for electrical services using mobile money. Once customers pre-pay they are sent secure unlock codes via their phones. These codes are then entered into small-scale, radically efficient solar photovoltaic (PV) systems installed in the customer’s home and electricity is provided. Consumers do not buy or finance the systems; they merely pay for the services.

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Solar for power generation

Energy utility TANESCO does not see solar energy as a main priority for electricty generation for the national net. In the latest Power System Master Plan (2012) the following section is contributed to solar PV: ‘Contemporary solar PV technology is done at small scale level. Application of solar power technology in Tanzania at large scale is not well established. However, in this update solar power was considered, with a potential to undertake pilot project before engaging many players.’

Solar Energy: Best Practice Case Study

RBF for Pico-Solar

SNV (Netherlands Development Organisation) is currently implementing the Results Based Financing (RBF) for Pico-Solar project in Tanzania. This project – funded by DfID through EnDev – aims to improve market access to and use of quality pico-solar products for poor rural and off grid households in the six regions of Tanzania’s Lake Zone. This is done by providing a financial incentive to import-suppliers and a bonus product to retailers, upon verified sale of Lighting Africa approved pico-solar products. Implementation of the project will start in 2014.

Uzi Solar PV project

Tanzania: Best Practice Case Studies Uzi solar PV project started with baseline data collection on existing energy options, analysis of average household energy demands and feasible power options for the island. Solar PV system happened to be more relevant for the island. Fifty households were identified to participate in a pilot project. These households were divided into groups of 5 and each group provided with a 120 Wp solar PV module, a 10 A charge controller and an inverter. The households were responsible for buying their individual batteries. The houses were supposed to be within 300 metres from the selected central household where the module was installed. Each household was designated one day per week to charge its battery and return to connect it to his household circuit. The energy in the battery was enough to take them throughout the week. For customers with televisions, they are allowed to charge two days a week[6].

For more information on the impacts and benefits of the project, click here.

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At the moment about 45% of power generated in Tanzania comes from hydro. Over the years the power sector of Tanzania has been dominated by hydropower. However, poor rains in the past few years resulted in a shortage of water to the turbine generating electricity. This was further aggravated by agricultural activities that were going on upstream. As such, Tanzania embarked on a deliberated measure to forge an energy mix which will ensure reliable availability of power for the economy. This deliberate measure involves promotion of increased use of renewable energy technologies (solar, wind, biomass, wastes, micro hydro), natural gas and other locally available energy sources including coal and geothermal.

Estimated total hydro potential in Tanzania is 4700 MW. By end of 2006 installed hydro power was 561 MW. A list of existing hydropower plants can be found in table 1.

Table 1: Hydropower plants in Tanzania as of June 2007.[7]



Size (in MW)

Installed capacity (in MW)






Great Ruaha River





Kihansi River





Great Ruaha River

New Pangani falls




River Pangani





River Pangani

Nyumba ya Mungu




River Pangani

Sub Total Hydro



Tanzania also imports electricity from Uganda (8 MW) and Zambia (5 MW). For a list of existing hydro plants in Tanzania, click here. There are also about 4.7 MW privately installed micro hydropower plants in Tanzania[1].

Planned large hydro's are at Ruhudji (360 MW), Rumakali (22 MW), ans Stieglers Gorge (2,100 MW). Small Hydro Power (smaller than 10 MW) so far has been only exploited up to 8 MW by TANESCO and private developers, whereas its potential is estimated at 315 MW, but interest seems to be increasing[8]. Studies also taking into account economic aspects highlight a variety of sites that could produce electricity at competitive cost to supply power to the national grid and through mini-grids to villages in the community.

-> For information on challenges and issues affecting the exploitation of hydropower in Tanzania, click here.

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The vast majority of Tanzanians rely on biomass for energy consumption; mostly in the form of fuelwood or charcoal that is used for cooking and heating. Wood energy demand accounts for approximately 90% of Tanzania’s overall energy supply and demand and almost 90% of that demand comes from the household sector. (BEST Tanzania, 2014). In rural areas, firewood is mostly used for cooking. The wood is either collected by household members, or bought at local markets. In urban areas, many households use charcoal (sometimes in combination with other fuels) for cooking. Charcoal demand has nearly doubled over the past 10 years, due to high urbanisation and high (perceived) prices of other cooking fuels like LPG or electricity (BEST Tanzania, 2014). The charcoal supply chain is providing income and employment to many in production, transportation, retail and sales.

When used in a sustainable matter by replanting harvested trees, biomass could be considered a ‘renewable energy’. Yet, observations have shown that current biomass use cannot be considered sustainable and the demand for woodfuels has put a serious pressure on the country’s forests. According to the FAO, the total forest cover of Tanzania was 32.621.000 hectares in 2012. A decrease by almost 30% from the forest cover level in 1990 (FAO, 2012). This decrease in forest cover is partly due to demand for woodfuels, along with expansion of agricultural land. Combustion of biomass for cooking also leads to emission of CO2 which contributes to climate change.

Apart from the environmental impacts of biomass energy use, there are economic impacts on household spending. Poor households spend a considerable share (from 35-50%) of their total income to meet their domestic energy needs. Biomass energy alone accounts for 63.5% of a typical family’s household energy budget (SNV, 2012).

In recent years, more emphasize has been placed on the health impacts resulting from unsustainable ways of using biomass for cooking. Smoke and fumes from traditional cooking practices produce CO and particulate matter (PM). These substances cause serious respiratory illnesses, specifically among women and children who are mostly involved in cooking in Tanzania.

Some initiatives in the biomass energy sector include[1]:

  • TATEDO has a long history of implementing ICS projects in Tanzania.
  • SNV is currently implementing the Tanzania Improved Cookstove (TICS) project in the Lake Zone of Tanzania.
  • The Tanzania Domestic Biogass Programme (TDBP), which is a part of the HIVOS/SNV Africa Biogas Partnership Programme and is hosted by CAMARTEC in Arusha has intalled over 2000 biogas digesters in Tanzania.
  • The improved mud stoves at Madale Youth Centre project has reduced biomass energy use through the introduction of mud stoves for cooking.
  • Mgololo Paper industry in Iringa Region generates about 40MW from wood residues. The energy is used in running paper making machinery.
  • Tanzania Wattle industry in Njombe generates about 2.5 MW from Wattle tree residues fed into the national grid. The industry is planning to generate 15 MW and sell to TANESCO. Research has established that 2.4 kg of wattle fire wood can generate 1 kWh of electricity. It is promoted to encourage more small industries to generate electricity from biomass.
  • Of recent the use of biogas for electricity generation has been started at Katani Ltd in Tanga region. By August 2007, a total of 150kW will be generated. Promotion is under way to get most of the sisal factories to generate electricity as the potential stands at 400MW.
  • Dar es salaam City is planning a 3 MW waste to energy generation plant.

-> For information on challenges and issues affecting the exploitation of biomass in Tanzania, click here.

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Biofuels are liquid or gaseous fuels produced from biomass that are generally high in sugar (such as sugarcane, sugarbeet, sweet sorghum), starch (such as corn and cassava) or oils (such as soybeans, rapeseed, coconut, sunflowers, and palms). The two most commonly used biofuels are ethanol and biodiesel. Biofuels are mostly used as a transportation fuel. Gel based biofuels can be used for cooking.

There is potential for the sugar sector in Tanzania to produce ethanol or ethanol gel as a cooking fuel that could serve as a replacement for kerosene or charcoal. TaTEDO examined these options. The draft MEM Liquid Biofuels Policy is expected to be released in the near future.

Examples of biofuel projects in Tanzania:

  • Moto Poa is an ethanol based fuel gel, replacing the present convetional forms. It is an economical alternative source of energy, promoting clean, safe & healthier environment that can alleviate poverty, deforestation and pollution.
  • Farming for Energy for Better Livelihoods in Southern Africa (FELISA) in Kigoma, is involved in palm oil production for energy. Their main objective is to produce biofuels for motive power amounting to 9,000 tons per annum but also generate electricity to 10 MW from Palm oil fruit cakes. In order to achieve their objectives, FELISA is developing 5000 hectares but also promoting palm oil out growers who will also benefit from the project.
  • Jatropha production is progressing. The National service is in the process of planting 600 hectares of Jatropha to generate seeds that will be used in promotion of the crop. KAKUTE of Arusha is also promoting Jatropha by buying Jatropha seeds and processing biofuel from them for different uses. Also, plans exist to use Tanzania's land resources to cultivate jatropha and palm kernel for the use as biofuels. International actors in Jatropha are e.g. the Dutch private company Dilligent (which had to stop opertions after one year) and the German PROKON, which has mobilized 1800 farmers to plant Jatrropha with an agreement to buy seeds from them for bio diesel production[1]. Both focus on developing sustainable and profitable cultivation and use of Jatropha oil in the local energy system and (some) export. But care must also be taken as the failure of the multimillion Sun Biofuels project has shown. Guidelines, policy and regulatory framework for biofuels in Tanzania are currently under development.

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As of 2007, wind resource assessment was on-going in Tanzania. Most of the wind data recorded between the 1970s and 1990s is not reliable for electricity generation due to a number of factors including unsuitable locations (airports) and height of data recording equipment (1.8-2m). Other sources of wind data were the agricultural research centres and water departments which also recorded wind data at about 2m height.
It is expected that with the eastern coastline (about 800 km) with the Indian Ocean, some promising wind speeds for energy production are possible. Areas along rift valleys, southern highlands and along Lake Victoria are reported to have some possibilities of potential wind sites.

According to Climatological statistics for East Africa given by the East Africa Meteorological Department in September 1975, the annual average wind speeds vary from 2.1m/s in Morogoro region to 6.3m/s in Tanga region for 17 regions in Tanzania. The data shows the mean wind speeds to be; for Tanga (6.3 m/s), Mtwara (5.7 m/s), Dar es salaam (5.4 m/s), Mbeya (5.4 m/s) and Mwanza (4.9 m/s). Others are Lindi (4.6 m/s), Ruvuma (4.5 m/s) and Mara (4.3 m/s).

On-going wind studies in the country with consideration of surface roughness at measuring sites and heights in excess of 30 m high, have already revealed some more potential sites for wind farms in Tanzania[1]. Available data is mostly from 10 m masts of Tanzania Meteorological Agency stations, and much of it is not suitable for predicting output ofwind farms. Nevertheless, results are promising in a number of sites with average speeds exceeding 8 m/s in certain locations. As an example wind data for Singida region and Makambako in Iringa Region have revealed wind speed of about 8 m/s which is good and more promising for electricity generation at reasonable costs. Other areas with wind speed in excess of 4.5 m/s are Mkumbara, Karatu and Same[1].

As of June 2009, there was no grid connected wind system in Tanzania and two known projects of over 50 MW in planning stages. (as per end of 2011 the joint energy sector review mentions "the Singida site should come on stream in 2012") Use of off-grid wind energy in Tanzania has been established for decades. At least 150 wind-pumping systems have been installed by missionary projects, communities and private individuals. There is a lack of comprehensive data about wind resources in Tanzania, and any developer of projects or seller of wind equipment will need to focus on gathering quality data.

For information on challenges and issues affecting the exploitation of wind energy in Tanzania, click here.

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Fossil Fuels[9][10]

Tanzania’s fossil fuel resources comprise natural gas and coal. In 2008, Tanzania exploited 21,383 TJ of natural gas and 90 kt of coal. The gas is used mainly for power generation (84%), the rest is used by the domestic industry.[11]Tanzania does not have own oil resources and imports are currently only able to cover 70% of the total demand. The main consumer of oil products is the transport sector.[12]

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Thermal Power

A total of 251 MW is the net effective capacity of TANESCO thermal generating plants. Thermal plants include: Ubungo gas turbines and Ubungo diesel plants both in Dar es Salaam, Independent Power Tanzania Limited plants at Tegeta in Dar es Salaam, isolated remote diesel plants (Mwanza, Kigoma, Mtwara, Ikwiriri and Mafia, just to mention a few), Kiwira Coal Mine Company Limited in Mbeya and Tanzania Wattle Limited of Njombe in Iringa Region[1].

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Natural Gas[1]

Proven natural gas reserves in Tanzania are estimated at more than 45 billion m³. Natural gas deposits in Tanzania are found at Songo Songo in Lindi region, Mnazi bay in Mtwara Region and Mkuranga in Coast Region. The reserves at Songo Songo and Mnazi bay are estimated at 30 and 15 billion m³ respectively. A 232 km gas pipeline from Songo Songo Island to Dar es salaam has been constructed and is supplying natural gas for power generation and other industrial thermal processes.

  • The Songas Project is currently producing around 200 MW of electricity using natural gas.
  • Some of the Dar es Salaam based industries using Natural Gas for thermal applications include Cement factories, Textiles, Breweries, Glass, Aluminium industry, etc.
  • Plans are underway to expand natural gas use for power generation & other industrial applications.

Challenges / Issues Affecting Exploitation of Natural Gas in Tanzania

A number of challenges/ issues affect exploitation of natural gas technologies in Tanzania:

  • Limited technical know-how.
  • High initial and investment costs for the technologies.
  • Limited awareness and exposure to the existence and potentials of the technology of Tanzanians.
  • Lack of financial facilities for energy investments.
  • Lack of consideration and capability to calculate life cycle costs of different energy options for Tanzanians.

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Currently, five major suppliers of gas share the market namely BP Gas, Oryx Gas, Alpha, Mohan Gas and Pan African/TPDC which is piloting bottling and distribution of natural gas. In particular in cities the LPG sector is growing; for instance in Kinondoni Municipality of Dar City, where mostly middle class families live, gas kiosks can be found less than a kilometre from each other.

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Tanzania coal reserves are estimated at about 1,200 million tonnes of which 304 million tones are proven. Main coal reserves are at Kiwira, Mchuchuma and Katewaka. The available coal is bituminous with an average ash content of about 25% and calorific value of about 28MJ/Kg. Some coal from Kiwira is used to generate about 6 MW of electricity, it is also used in industries like cement and textile for heat processes. Kiwira Coal 100 MW Project has the capacity to produce 200 MW. Opportunities exist to promote use of clean coal briquettes for cooking in public institutions and households as a possible substitute to biomass fuels.
The Government of Tanzania is strategizing the option to generate electricity using Mchuchuma coal in collaboration with private sector.

Challenges / Issues Affecting Exploitation of Coal in Tanzania

A number of challenges/ issues affect exploitation of Coal technologies in Tanzania:

  • Limited technical know how.
  • High initial and investment costs for the technologies.
  • Limited awareness and exposure to the existence and potentials of the technology of Tanzanians.
  • Lack of financial facilities for energy investments.
  • Lack of consideration and capability to calculate life cycle costs of different energy options for Tanzanians.
  • Limited political will.
  • Environment and safety issues of the technology

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Multifunctional Platforms: Best Practice Case Study

->Multifunctional platforms: best practice case study

The Chemi chemi group women in Bitale village and many other rural communities in Kigoma region spend a considerable time and energy to process palm oil from palm fruits.

After a baseline study, awareness campaigns were staged in the village on various energy options (including Multifunctional Platforms (MFP)) to support their activities. The women group expressed a desire for a MFP. UNDP/GVEP project provided the MFP on revolving fund basis where, after repayment the funds would go to another village. The MFP is a power tiller which is able to till land, carries farm produce, does milling, pumps water and can generate electricity. Other separate units for cracking palm nuts and palm oil processing including sterilization and clarification are also available. Provision of the units was followed by capacity building i.e. demonstration and training on how to install, use and maintain[6].

For more information on the impacts and benefits of the project, click here.

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Energy Situation

Primary Fuels in Urban Areas


Dar other urban areas
Electricity for lighting 56 % 28 %
Fuel for lighting 40 % 70 %


Dar other urban areas
Firefood 5 % 34 %
Charchoal 70 % 55 %
Kerosene 12 % 7 %
Electricity 2 %

1 %

Primary fuels in rural areas


Electricity for lighting 1.4 %
Fuel for lighting 90.4 %


Firewood 91%
Charcoal 8%
Kerosene for cooking 1%

Source: Country Information Tanzania, 2010[13]

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Energy Demand and Supply in the Household Sector

Rural Electricity Supply

On-grid vs. Off-grid electrification scenarios

The World Bank, ESMAP and KTH Division of Energy Systems Analysis have developed National High Resolution Dynamic Least Cost Options Plan for Universal Access to Electricity in Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia in 2018. The web-based open source application presented here allows the users to select scenarios based on electricity consumption targeted (Tiers of access) and spatially related fuel costs. [14] For Tanzania, it is foreseen that almost 90% of the population not yet connected will be connected by stand alone (PV) systems, while 12% will be connected via grid-extentions. Out of the total investments costs of 1.3 billion USD, roughly 40% is foreseen for the grid-extensions while off-grid electrifications with PV standalone systems will be covered by 60%, Diesel gensets play only a minor role.[15]

Key Problems of the Energy Sector

Power Africa lists the following as Tanzania's energy sector most challenging bottlenecks[16]:

  • Poor sector governance 
  • Lack of a creditworthy off-taker 
  • Lack of cost-reflective tariffs 

Institutional Set-up and Actors in the Energy Sector

Public Institutions

Rural Energy Agency (REA)

is responsible for boosting modern energy services in rural areas, simplification of projects, and technical assistance of project development. The REA is governed by the Rural Energy Board (REB) which is an assembly of representatives of the ministries of energy, finance etc., of the private market, development partners and NGOs. It is responsible for approval of projects financed by REF, the supervision of REA and REF and the affirmation of REA's operational plans

Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA)

is responsible for technical and economic regulation of the electricity, petroleum, natural gas and water sectors

Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM)

is the most important political entity for energy questions and is responsible for facilitating the development of energy and mineral resources through participation of various stakeholders including public, private, public-private partnerships, local communities, NGOs and civil society

Renewable Energy Fund (REF)

is responsible for the financing of the by the REB accounted and by the REA implemented activities. The funds are coming from Tanzania's budget, from foreign donors, levies from electricity production and other levies as well as interest rates and returns[17]

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Electricity Companies


Tanzania Electric Supply Company Limited (TANESCO) is a parastatal organization under the Ministry of Energy and Minerals. The Company generates, transmits, distributes and sells electricity to Tanzania Mainland and sells bulk power to the Zanzibar Electricity Corporation (ZECO) which in turn sells it to the public on the islands of Unguja and Pemba. TANESCO owns most of the electricity generating, transmitting and distributing facilities in Tanzania Mainland. Yet in 1992, the government of Tanzania removed TANESCO’s monopoly as the sole power generating and distributing company. The company operates a number of hydro power plants, all of which are listed in the table in the 'Hydro Power' section of Tanzania Energy Situation wiki.

As of June 17, 2010, TANESCO had 5645 employees, 4516 men and 1129 women.

TANESCO is targeting 30 percent connectivity by 2015.

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Equipment Suppliers

Several suppliers of energy equipment exist: M/s Tunakopesha Limited sells energy supplies such as PV on credit. The SERO Lease Financing (SELFINA) leases equipment and is testing PV equipment market. The Chloride Exide Ltd is a long-serving company in the energy sector that supply solar batteries and other equipment. Furthermore, the firm ENSOL sells solar PV systems to off-grid households as well as to public and private institutions in rural Tanzania. The company imports the needed components and installs them according to customer needs. Sahara and The Kisangani Smith Group are active in the efficient stoves market. In addition, Appropriate Rural Technology (ART) distributes Indian technology Moto Poa stoves.[18]

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Power Generation

Currently, several companies in advanced stages of investing in Wind Energy exist in Tanzania: Ms Wind EA that is planning to invest in Kititimo Singida with MW 50 to MW 200 potential and Power Pool East Africa and Sino-Tan Renewable Ltd, New Energy Group Ltd, Infranco and M/S Songas Ltd.[19]

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Development Organisations

Several national and international development organisations and NGOs are active in the (renewable) energy sector in Tanzania. In this sub-section, a list of some of the main development organisations is given, as well as a short description of the services they deliver.

The newly established Sustainable Energy Programme began operations in 2014. GIZ focuses on the three pillars of renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy sector regulation. In all three fields, advisory services are provided to Tanzanian partners and stakeholders, in particular Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM), Rural Energy Agency (REA), as well as the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA). They are intended to contribute to a better handling of key sector challenges, in particular improved energy sector management and planning capacities, a more balanced future energy mix, as well as enabling institutional, legislative and regulatory framework conditions to facilitate increased private sector engagement and investments. Advice is also being provided to MEM on governance issues relating to the increasing exploitation of the large offshore natural gas fields.

  • GVEP: approach to accelerate pace and scope of enery interventions to improve access to energy services
  • Sida: implements a five-year project for developing the PV market in rural areas.  Sida along with the Rural Electrification Authorithy estimated that round 1 of their Green Mini-grid program in Tanzanian has led to 15,000 new connections and more than 1 MW of newly installed capacity of RE[20].
  • SNV (Netherlands Development Organisation)

SNV’s overall strategy in the renewable energy sector in Tanzania is focussed on improving access to affordable, clean and renewable energy for households and small/medium enterprises through sustainable, market based approaches. SNV supports the development of innovative, healthy and environmentally sustainable energy products and related services, like access to finance and business coaching of entrepreneurs. SNV's expertise in renewable energy spans three sub-sectors: Biogas, Solar, and Improved Cookstoves and Fuels.

Based in Dar es Salaam, is an organisation composed of professionals, artisans, farmers, community based organizations and micro enterprises that promote renewable energy systems, namely improved cook stoves. It implements projects in cooperation with the European Union, Norway, the Netherlands and the United Nations.

Network of various stakeholders working in the renewable energy sector.

  • UNDP: Transformation of Rural PV Market
  • World Bank: Energizing Rural Transformation

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Policy Framework

Poverty Reduction Strategy

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Energy policy

The Government of Tanzania (GOT) is the prior player in terms of policy and regulatory environment.

The national energy policy document was launched in April, 1992. From that time the policy has undergone a review process which was prompted by social and economic changes taking place in all sectors of the economy. The revised Energy Policy was launched in February, 2003. The Policy focuses on market mechanisms as a means to reach its objectives and achieve an efficient energy sector. The policy takes in to consideration the need to:

  • Have affordable and accessible energy supplies countrywide.
  • Reform the market for energy services.
  • Form an institutional framework which facilitates investment, expansion of services, efficient pricing mechanisms and other financial incentives.
  • Adequately take in to account environmental considerations for all energy activities
  • Promote energy efficiency and conservation in all sectors; and
  • Increase energy education and build gender-balanced capacity in energy planning, implementation and monitoring.

The main elements of this policy consist of developing efficient domestic energy ressources, boosting of market-determining energy prices, improving the reliability and security of energy, commercialising and privatising the energy sector, reducing deforestation and developing of human ressources[21][5].

Vision & Mission of the Energy Sector

The vision of the energy sector is to contribute to the growth of national economy and improve the standard of living of the population in a sustainable and environmentally sound manner. Its mission is to create a suitable environment for the provision of safe, reliable, efficient, cost effective and environmentally compatible energy services on a sustainable basis to the widest cross section of the population.

Objectives of the Policy

The objectives of a national energy policy are to ensure availability of reliable and affordable energy supplies and their use in a rational and sustainable manner in order to support national development goals.

Specific objectives include

  • To develop and utilise natural gas and coal resources;
  • To step up petroleum exploration activities;
  • To promote development and utilisation of appropriate new and renewable sources of energy;
  • To reduce deforestation through efficient wood fuel conversion and end-use technologies & techniques;
  • To promote energy conservation and efficiency.


To achieve the overall objectives of economic growth and poverty reduction, there is a need for substantial improvements within the energy sector, both on demand and supply sides. The following are some of challenges:

  • Increased electricity supply and distribution
  • To sustain and increase oil & Gas exploration
  • Regional interconnection
  • Rural electrification
  • Reaching rural households


There are fundamental features and considerations, which determine the development directions and structures of the energy sector. The following are some of the key issues taken into account:

  • Market Economy
  • Independent Regulatory regime
  • National Interest versus Market Forces
  • Regional Cooperation and Trade
  • Energy Conservation and Efficiency
  • Environmental management
  • Gender Issues (Social Role of Women and Men)
  • Appropriate Technologies[5]

In 2010 the EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility formalised an agreement with MEM to develop a biomass energy strategy for Tanzania (BEST).

In order to achieve these goals Tanzania has introduced rural energy and power sector development strategies:

  1. the Electricity Act of 2008 whose main task is the privatisation of the electricity market and an improved framework for market introduction of renewable energy technologies in particular in rural areas;
  2. the Rural Energy Act of 2005 which established the Rural Energy Agency and Fund (REA/F) whose main task is to promote access to modern energy services and to provide performance based subsidies for rural energy including renewable energy systems;
  3. the Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Authority Act established in 2001 which provides the regulator with the responsibility of tariff setting effecting also the independent renewable energy power producers.

The GOT has adopted the Power System Master Plan (PSMP), by this plan the GOT has both a short-term (2009-2012) and medium- and long-term (2013-2031) plan. The plan estimates an increasing demand for energy/electricity at an average rate of 8.5-15% per annum. In order to be able to ensure adequate energy supply, the Electricity Act of 2008 gives procedures for providing electricity from different sources. The Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Authority (EWURA) created a model for Standardized Small Power Purchase Agreement/Tariff (SSPPA/T) for private producers providing less than 10MW.

The Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) contain a standardized power purchase agreement and a non-negotiable purchase tariff based on avoided cost principles for electricity sales to TANESCO national grid and mini-grids. EWURA, which is the regulatory body, is currently working on issuing guidelines to help developers to develop their projects efficiently. Moreover, EWURA is developing procedures for formulating tariffs for mini-grid consumers.

The Rural Energy Agency has provided subsidies to TANESCO in order to extend grid electricity in areas where it seems not be economic to invest. In 2008/9 the REA plans to use TZS 18.0 billion (US$ 13.33 million) to subsidize the grid-rural electrification.[22]

Called for by the 2008 Electricity Act MEM produced a position paper on the reform of the electricity sector, which is currently (end of 2011) under the consideration of the Cabinet. The paper is expected to give guidance to the further sector development.

The 2010/2011 Joint energy Sector Review gives the following priorities for the electricity sector[23]:

  • electricity sector planning (collaborative preparation of the power sector master plan)
  • strengthen demand forecasting
  • develop DSM and energy efficiency programs
  • implement, monitor and fine-tune the EPP
  • raise TANESCO tariffs based on cost analysis
  • electricity sector restructuring
  • formulate a clear national policy on subsidies (implementation scheduled for budget year 2013)
  • a rural electrification master plan, prioritizing rural electrification investments, focussing on centres with significant potential for new jobs and income from the use of electricity (ensuring viability for TANESCO)

Specifically for renewables the review defines the following action points:

  • government to invest more in promotion of renewables
  • follow-up on research for development of large scale geothermal energy
  • scale up of RE technologies that have proven feasibilty, viability by prior projects
  • follow-up on large scale wind power projects
  • promote demand side management through energy efficiency and conservation
  • improve availability of hydro power through research
  • encourage large scale growers of oil seed for biodiesel to build processing plants
  • support research in ocean energies
  • facilitate further support to companies involved in the manufacture of RE equipment such as small wind turbines and small water turbines
  • develop and implement a rural energy master plan prioritizing rural electrification investments(plan projected to be available by the end of 2012), incorporating EUEF project " integrated rural electrification planning"

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Electricity Prices

In Tanzania four different price levels exist:

  • Domestic Low Usage Tariff (DI): applies to customers using on average less than 50 kWh per year, is subsidised and includes services
  • General Usage Tariff (T1): applies to consumption above 283 kWh per year, voltage is 230V in monophase and 400V in triphase
  • Low Voltage Usage Tariff (T2): applies to consumers with a consumption of 400V and a more than 7.500 kWh, but less than 500 KVA
  • High Voltage Usage Tariff (T3): applies to consumers using 11KV and above

In january 2011 a 18,5% price hike took effect in Tanzania, where TANESCO actually had proposed for 34,6% to move towards more cost recovering incomes. At current (after the price hike), TANESCO's recovering rate is about 80% of its costs. If the EPP is implemented however, this rate will drop considerably.[24]

Subsidies on Renewable Energy Technologies

Exemption of customs is given on imports of wind and solar products. Subsidies of PV systems exist:

In the case of SHS

  • 0-14 Wp: 2.5 $/Wp
  • 14-100 Wp: 1.5 $/Wp
  • > 100 Wp: now subsidies

in the case of public institutions

  • < 300 Wp: 1.5 $/Wp, but maximum 450 € per institution

The government supports Small Power Procuders (SPP); effecient concepts for regulation and pricing are developed in order to improve electricity supply in rural areas [25]

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Key Problems Hampering Access to Modern Energy Services in Rural Areas

Obstacles for Grid Based Rural Electrification

Obstacles for Off Grid Energy Technologies and Services

Cooking Energy

A 2011 desk study by RTA and SNV[26] provides a good overview of the actual status and challenges of the ICS sector in Tanzania. These are many, but basically the sector is highly informal with a variety of programs and projects over the years which however seemed to lack mutual cooperation and coherence to develop a true sector. Second, the end user perception towards ICS is not well included in design, promotion, marketing of stoves and quality perception is rather low. Third, cost saving arguments, especially with firewood stoves in the past have not been convincing as many rural households did not pay for firewood. This seems however to have changed in the last years. Fourth it is not clear whether, or under what circumstances, a profitable business case for stoves producers can be made which is sustainable over a longer period of time without subsidies or grants.

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Further Information

  • Tanzania country report.pdf
  • Ministry of Energy and Minerals (2003), Energy Policy of Tanzania Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Mr. Shilogile, (2007), A PAPER ON STATUS OF ENERGY MAIN STREAMING IN THE MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES AND TOURISM: Presented at energy mainstreaming in regional and district programmes and projects workshop held in Kigoma on 18th – 20th July 2007.
  • Paul Kiwele (2007), “STATUS OF ENERGY IN TANZANIA AND ITS IMPLICATION TO POVERTY REDUCTION” A paper presented at a workshop on mainstreaming Energy in Regional and District programmes in Kigoma July 2007. Ministry of energy and Minerals, Dar es Salaam.
  • MEM/TANESCO, “Study report on the potential wind sites for power generation in Tanzania” Dar es Salaam.
  • USAID Power Africa: Tanzania Factsheet

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 GTZ (2007): Eastern Africa Resource Base: GTZ Online Regional Energy Resource Base: Regional and Country Specific Energy Resource Database: II - Energy Resource.
  2. Boylan, Jessie: Addressing Energy Crisis Through Alternatives and Efficiency at Household Level. International Press Service News Agency. http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=49876
  3. International Energy Agency: Beyond the OECD. Tanzania, United Republic of. http://www.iea.org/country/n_country.asp?COUNTRY_CODE=TZ&amp;amp;amp;amp;Submit=Submit
  4. The United Republic of Tanzania: National Website. http://www.tanzania.go.tz/energyf.html
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 GTZ (2007): Eastern Africa Resource Base: GTZ Online Regional Energy Resource Base: Regional and Country Specific Energy Resource Database: IV - Energy Policy.
  6. 6.0 6.1 GTZ (2007): Eastern Africa Resource Base: GTZ Online Regional Energy Resource Base: Regional and Country Specific Energy Resource Database: VII - Best Practice Case Studies.
  7. TANESCO 2007
  8. Final report on joint energy sector review for 2010/2011. MEM, Dar es Salaam, September 2011
  9. Bariki Kaale (2007): “Monitoring and evaluation of rural Energy development in Kigoma Region” UNDP/GVEP, Dar es Salaam.
  10. Ministry of Energy and Minerals (2003), “Energy Policy of Tanzania” Dar es salaam, Tanzania. http://www.mem.go.tz
  11. International Energy Agency: Beyond the OECD. Tanzania, United Republic of. http://www.iea.org/country/n_country.asp?COUNTRY_CODE=TZ&amp;Submit=Submit
  12. The United Republic of Tanzania: National Website. http://www.tanzania.go.tz/energyf.html
  13. http://energy.invisibleschoolhouse.net/mod/wiki/view.php?id=159page=Tanzania
  14. ELECTRIFICATION PATHWAYS.” ONSSET, http://www.onsset.org/electrification-pathways.html. Accessed 11 Mar. 2020.
  15. http://electrification.energydata.info/model/?iso3=TZA&mode=ic
  16. Power Africa. (2018). Tanzania Factsheet. Retrieved from: https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1860/Tanzania_-_November_2018_Country_Fact_Sheet.pdf
  17. Frey, L. (2009). Business Guide Erneuerbare Energien Tansania. Berlin: GTZ, p.25f.
  18. http://energy.invisibleschoolhouse.net/mod/wiki/view.php?id=159page=Tanzania
  19. http://energy.invisibleschoolhouse.net/mod/wiki/view.php?id=159page=Tanzania
  20. 5 years on from the launch of Green Mini-Grids Africa – what’s been achieved, and what have we learned?May 2020.https://minigrids.org/5-years-on-from-the-launch-of-green-mini-grids-africa-whats-been-achieved-and-what-have-we-learned/
  21. Frey, L. (2009). Business Guide Erneuerbare Energien Tansania. Berlin: GTZ, p.23
  22. http://energy.invisibleschoolhouse.net/mod/wiki/view.php?id=159page=Tanzania
  23. Final report on joint energy sector review for 2010/2011. MEM, Dar es Salaam, September 2011
  24. Final report on joint energy sector review for 2010/2011. MEM, Dar es Salaam, September 2011
  25. Frey, L. (2009). Business Guide Erneuerbare Energien Tansania. Berlin: GTZ, p.25
  26. The Household Improved Cook Stoves Sector in Tanzania. February 2011. Arda Riedijk, Round Table Africa

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