Grid power now lights up 70pc

Acting Commissioner for Energy and Petroleum Affairs, Engineer Innocent Luoga (Standing)

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NEARLY 70 per cent of Tanzanians are now said to have access to grid electricity, an increase of some 30 per cent within two-years.

This means at least 35 million Tanzanians have access to main grid electricity across the country, with the figure set to rapidly increase with ongoing rural electrification programmes – billed the highest electricity penetration in East Africa.

The Acting Commissioner for Energy and Petroleum Affairs, Engineer Innocent Luoga revealed here that people’s access to electricity jumped from 40 per cent in 2015 to slightly above 67.5 per cent in 2017 -- and climbing -- whereas grid power penetration ranges from 97.3 per cent in urban areas and 49.5 per cent in rural areas.

Tanzania is currently home to an estimated 50 million people, the largest of the six countries making up the East African Community. Commissioner Luoga was addressing the ‘International Conference on Water Infrastructure and Sustainable Energy Future in a Changing Environment,’ WISE-Future for short, against the backdrop of ongoing concerns over effects of global warming and climate change.

“The government is committed to developing the energy sector. At present the grid installed capacity is 1263.60MW … the auxiliary contribution from natural gas is 615MW, hydropower (567.7MW), diesel (70.4MW) and biomass 10.5MW,” Engineer Luoga revealed, adding that off-grid installed capacity now stands at 82.4MW.

The meeting was held at the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST)’s Tengeru Campus, in Arumeru District -- where ‘WISE-Future,’ Central Director, Dr Hans Komakech pointed out that effects of climate change would stifle ongoing efforts to ensure wide and reliable electricity supply around the globe.

He said more than 600 million people within Sub-Sahara Africa still did not have access to grid electricity, accounting for 46 per cent of all people living without power across the world.

Overall, at least 1.3 billion people around the globe are still in the dark – with the global population now clocking at 7.2 billion. The delegates from various research institutes, as well as scholars met in Arusha to chart out strategies to increase electricity supply without compromising efforts to conserve water sources.

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