The Government of Tanzania and President Jakaya Kikwete have recently been reported as saying that they will make every effort to avoid allowing the current problems concerning the availability of Tanzania energy resources to affect the production and distribution of electricity in country.
During his monthly address to the nation, President Kikwete indicated that there are currently several challenges facing the energy and electricity sector within the African country.
According to his speech, the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) has said that the country is currently lacking a surplus power, as indicated by the fact that a small breakdown in the country’s production system always leads to load shedding.
“The country consumes all that is generated,” said President Kikwete, “and still the demand far exceeds supply, with only 14 per cent of those who are in need having access to power.”
According to Tanesco, the primary challenge that faces the country is the growing demand for national power, which increases by approximately 10 to 15 percent every year.
Based on these estimates, an additional 105 MW are required annually in order for the grid to meet the increasing demand
Currently the peak time availability on the grid stands at 595 MW, while the demand is approximately 787 MW.
According to a report by the Daily News, government sources have estimated that approximately TZS 2 trillion would be required over the next five years in order to restore the country’s power sector.
In spite of the current global financial crisis, President Kikwete has said that the government has prepared a long-term power generation plan that has been designed to utilize various alternative resources including gas, coal, water and wind.
In addition, the Daily News also reported that the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Arthur Mwakapugi, has said that some the projects that are underway and are anticipated to be ready by 2015 are expected to increase the national grid availability by as much as 1,178 MW; among these projects are two natural-gas powered plants, two are hydro dams and a wind-powered project.
Currently, because of some difficulties in obtaining funding from financial institutions, which stems, in part as a result of the global financial crisis, some other projects, such as the 200 MW Kiwira coal project the 300MW Mnazi Bay gas project, have also been delayed.
Nevertheless, in order to deal with the rising demand, President Kikwete has said that the government is currently working to secure emergency power supply facilities.
“The Ministry of Energy has already made some good progress,” said President Kikwete.
The President went on to indicate that there was no cause to be concerned that the country would soon be without power and expressed a hope that the government would soon be able to secure funding for the more permanent plan for major hydro-power and coal projects.