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Renewable Energy Potential

Physical Potential

Tanzania has a high and mostly untapped potential for renewable energy sources. The only resource significantly in use is hydropower at a large scale. Additionally, small hydropower has good potential and is particularly feasible in rural areas. Biomass resources are mostly exploited in traditional, but unsustainable ways though there remains great potential due to large amounts of organic waste generated from the agricultural sector. Solar energy is abundant with initial efforts being undertaken to exploit this resource through both off-grid and grid-connected solutions. Wind resources have been assessed with results showing promise with plans for developments underway. The World Bank is mapping renewable energy resources within their ESMAP Programme.

Solar Potential

Tanzania has promising levels of solar energy, ranging between 2,800 and 3,500 hours of sunshine per year and a global horizontal radiation of 4–7 kWh per m2 per day. Solar radiation is particularly high in the central region of the country.

To date, about 6 MW of solar off-grid PV has been installed countrywide. PV installations are generally used at villages, schools, hospitals, health centers, police stations, small telecommunications enterprises and households, as well as for lighting, street lighting and basic electricity needs. The government, through the REA and various donors, has supported a number of solar PV expansion programs. One grid-connected PV plant has been commissioned to date. The 1 MW-plant produces about 1,800 MWh/year. The potential for grid-connected solar PV is estimated to amount to 800 MW.

In the short-term, the Power System Master Plan (PSPM) 2007-2031 envisages the construction of 120 MW of PV capacity by 2018. Several private companies have expressed interest in developing 50–100 MW solar plants.


Solar map DNI Tanzania

Source: SolarGIS

Wind Potential

Initial assessments have shown Tanzania to have promising wind resources, with Kititimo (9.9 m/s average wind speed at 30m) and Makambako (8.9 m/s) having been identified as having adequate wind speeds for grid-scale electricity generation. The Ministry, in collaboration with TANESCO, is conducting wind resource assessments on eight further sites throughout the country. In addition REA supports wind measurements on Mafia Island. To date, four private companies have expressed interest in investing in wind energy, considering construction of farms in the 50–100 MW range.


Hydro Potential

Traditionally hydropower has been the main source for electricity in Tanzania, however intermittent river flows have decreased its reliability. Another key challenge facing hydropower is the regional mismatch between hydro sites and major demand centers with a strengthening transmission system a requirement for further development. Tanzania does intend to further develop its large-hydro capacity with estimated potential calculated as high as 4,000 MW. The Power System Master Plan (PSMP) includes 16 projects with a combined capacity of 3,000 MW to be finalized by 2031, if developed large hydropower would still exceed 30% of generation capacity after 2025.

Of the presented installed grid connected capacity, two small-scale hydro power plants are owned by TANESCO (Nyumba ya Mungu 8MW, Uwemba 4MW), and a further two by private developers (Mwenga 4MW, Yovi 1MW). Beyond these existing developments Tanzania has significant small hydropower potential (installed capacity <10 MW) estimated at 315 MW. Further site level assessments undertaken by TANESCO and financed by Ministry of Energy and Minerals (MEM) have identified 131 specific small hydro sites across the country. Complimentary economic analysis has concluded that a number of sites are commercially viable for generating electricity for the national or mini-grids.

Bioenergy Potential

Currently, there is only one grid-connected biogas plant (18 MW) in place. However, several agro-industrial companies have constructed captive power systems based on biomass to generate electricity for their operations. The potential for modern biomass uses is high, considering that the raw material available is abundant and includes sugar bagasse (1.5 million tons per year), sisal (0.2 MT/year), coffee husk (0.1 MTPY), rice husk (0.2 MT/year), municipal solid waste (4.7 MT/year) and forest residue (1.1 MT/year).

Geothermal Potential

Tanzania has significant geothermal potential that has not yet been fully quantified. Estimates based on analogue methods indicate a potential exceeding 650 MW across 50 identified sites in three main prospect zones located in the East African Rift Valley.

Key figures

Available statistics:
Official languages
Kiswahili, English
Population (2018)
Population growth (2019 est.), %
Median age (2018 est.), years
Urbanization rate (2015 - 2018), % p.a.
Urban population (2018), % of total
Rural population (2018), % of total
Population density (2018), per km2
HDI (2018)
154 of 188
National Currency
Tanzanian Shilling (TZS)
Exchange rate (July 2019), USD
1 USD = 2,300 TZS
GDP (2018), USD billion current
GDP growth (2018), %
GDP annual growth rate forecast (2020), %
GNI per capita (2018), current int’l USD
Inflation (2018), %
Inflation Rate Forecast (2020), %
Foreign Direct Investment, net inflows (2017), BOP current USD billion
Net official development assistance (2017), current USD billion
Budget deficit (2017 est,), % of GDP
Ease of Doing Business (2017), rank of 190
TI Corruption Index (2016), rank of 180
Installed Generation Capacity (MW, 2016)
Installed Fossil Fuel Capacity (2016), % of total installed capacity
Hydro Capacity (2017), % of total installed capacity
Other RE Capacity (2017), % of total installed capacity
Renewable electricity output as % of total electricity output excl. hydro (2016)
Avg. distribution and transmission losses as % of output (2016)
Net electricity imports (2017), GWh
Electrification rate, total (2017) %
Electrification rate, urban (2017) %
Electrification rate, rural (2017) %
Peak demand (2016), MW
Per capita electricity consumption (2016), kWh
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