Hydroelectric power contributes about 57% of the total power generated in Tanzania. The electricity supply industry is dominated by Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO).The company operates hydropower generation stations which include Kidatu, Kihansi, Mtera, Pangani, Hale, Nyumba ya Mungu and Uwemba, totalling 561 MW of electricity. TANESCO also generates thermal electricity using gas and diesel by plants located in various parts of the country. There are also independent power plants (IPPs) which produce thermal electricity from gas and diesel and then sell the generated power to TANESCO who feeds it to the national grid.
Biogas Due to increasing demand for power and dwindling energy resources, there is need to develop alternative energy sources in Tanzania. One of such sources is biogas, which is used for heating, lighting, and cooking at homes, schools, hospitals, etc. Biogas is produced by anaerobic digestion with anaerobic bacteria or fermentation of biodegradable materials such as manure, sewage, municipal waste, plant material, and crops. Biogas technology in Tanzania was introduced in 1975.But it was not until late 2000s when a study of the biogas sector and how to improve it was conducted. Then the sector saw improved progress in domestic biogas uptake.
The government is collaborating with different development partners to improve on existing technologies and to construct new biogas plants for particularly rural communities. It is estimated that about 700 biogas plants have been constructed in Tanzania. Most of these are in rural areas where raw materials such as livestock and poultry wastes and crop residues are easily and abundantly available. Outlined below are some of the importances of producing these resources:
1. Hydroelectricity and biogas industry employs people who carry out energy production activities. The sector, therefore, serves as the source of employment opportunities to some Tanzanians. This helps to improve their income and hence the standard of living.
2. The hydroelectricity generated in Tanzania is used to power other industries and sectors of economy. It, therefore, leads to industrial development as well as other economic sectors in the country.
3. Biogas generation in rural areas has greatly helped to improve the living standard of the rural people. Studies have revealed that now women and girls with access to biogas do not spend much time looking for firewood and hence they can instead direct their efforts towards participating in other economic activities to improve family income. It thus saves women and children from drudgery of collection and carrying of fireweed, exposure to smoke in the kitchen, and time spent for cooking and cleaning of utensils.
4. The use of biogas and hydroelectricity has greatly reduced the problem of cutting down trees for firewood. This has consequently helped to prevent deforestation, hence ensuring environmental conservation. Conversely, biogas combustion has no effect to environmental pollution since it produces negligibly very little pollutants into the atmosphere compared to wood, coal and petroleum. The use of municipal waste to generate biogas directly assists in cleaning of the environment and prevention of pollution that could result by dumping of these wastes on land or into water bodies.
5. Most of the biogas projects are undertaken by development partners from abroad. This has helped to improve the relationship between Tanzania and the partners’ mother countries.
6. The residue of the organic matter left back after biogas has been generated is used as enriched organic manure, which can supplement or even replace chemical fertilizers.