Obstructive laws, policies hamper renewable energy potential in TZ

09Jan 2020
Crispin Gerald
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Obstructive laws, policies hamper renewable energy potential in TZ

IN September 2015, during the united Nations Summit, member countries adopted the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with focus on ensuring that every country is working to make an end to poverty, eliminate inequalities and take control of climate change.

The adopted SDGs agenda which consist of 17 goals requires in the seventh goal that every UN member country is supposed to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy.

It explains that, energy is nearly the major challenge and opportunity the world faces today. focusing on universal access to energy, increased energy efficiency and the increased use of renewable energy through new economic and job opportunities is crucial to creating more sustainable and inclusive communities and resilience to environmental issues.

Renewable energy which includes solar power, hydroelectric power, geothermal, wind, is vital as it contributes to socio-economic development, but also it is an alternative source of energy to others which produce carbon emission and contribute to climate change.

Tanzania has a potential for renew- able energy which can be realized through private investment, public and private partnerships and supportive taxation and policy environment.

“It is however that, available policies in the country do not offer a clear sup- port on alternative and clean energy, and also there is an overlap between available policies and guidelines in the energy sector; for stance encouraging investments on solar energy products but at the same time pooling out the tax exemption on the products,” according to Tanzania civil society re- port on the SDGs.

This has led to the increase on the use of non-renewable energy including charcoal which is highly utilized for domestic purposes. Charcoal consumption especially in urban areas has nearly doubled over the past ten years due to urbanization, high prices or scarcity of other alter- natives particularly kerosene, electricity and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Statistics from energy Policy 2015 shows that, in 2010, energy consumption composed of residential was 72.5 percent, industry 14.4 percent, trans- port 5.8 percent, agriculture 4.2 percent and others 3.1 percent.

“It is projected that demand for charcoal, without supply and demand side interventions will double by 2030, from approximately 2.3 million tons of charcoal in 2012,” the forum for climate change forum CC, an association of civil society organizations committed to work on climate change, has underscore the need for the government to shift to the use of renewable energy as alternative and the best source of energy suitable for economic and domestic purpose.

Project coordinator for renewable energy project in the forum Euphrasia Shayo told reporter recently in Dar es Salaam that the government is supposed to see the need of investing much in the utilization of renewable energy in order to reduce carbon emission from use of charcoal and fire wood.

“the problem is that the government has not put priority on renewable sources of energy like hydro power, solar, wind and geothermal,” she said.

According to her lots of investment has been allocated in the utilization of non-renewable energy for commer- cial purpose despite the fact that they are not friendly with the environment, including coal for industrial use,” she said.

Shayo cited the government budget tabled for the fiscal year 2016/17 which shows the state allocated 30 percent of the budget for production and utilization of non-renewable energy including coal, whilst, for renewable energy, the government allocated 5 percent only.

“More budget is needed to make infrastructures for utilization of renew- able energy more effective in order to provide enough energy for domestic and industrial activities,” she insisted.

“But also, policy makers and responsible authorities in the country are supposed to make reforms in the regulatory framework to have a clear statement on utilization of renewable energy.

Shayo explained that a lot of funds from donors have been channeled to develop non-renewable energy for economic purposes while little is set for renewable energy. She made the remarks to reporter during the session which was pre- pared by forum CC that brought to-

Gether different Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) across the country to have one alliance that will work to persuade the gov- ernment to see the necessity of shifting to the use of renewable source of energy instead of non- renewable.

The forum is implementing a two-year project seeking to influence the government to invest more in the generation and use of renewable energy because it is one of clean and safe source of energy to environment. the initiative is implemented under the fund from Nether- lands based organization called Hivos, together with Pan african Climate Justice alliance (PaCJa).

Renewable energy is one of best source of dealing with cli- mate change as it produces little amount of carbon gas compared to non-renewable energy like coal and fossil fuels.

“We are advocating for the use of renewable energy in order to also help women in the society who are main user of the energy for domestic activities,” she explained. “It is with no doubt that, scaling-up renewable energy programme is amongst several
key interventions that Tanzania would have to promote in the years ahead as we strive to achieve energy security,” said the then Minister for energy and Minerals Prof Sospeter Muhongo.

The ultimate goal is to attain universal access to modern energy services; therefore, special attention should be given to in- crease power generation from renewable energy sources that are available in abundance.

“This will lead to more than 75 percent of Tanzania's residents, majority of who live in rural areas, to have access to electricity services by 2035. this approach is in line with the united Nations’ Sustainable energy for all initiative and its post 2015 global sustainable development agenda,” the minister said.

The civil society organisations have jointly recommended in their report launched in Dar es Salaam that the government should minimize lengthy administrative process by establishing a one stop center as well as building capacity and interest of financial institutions to understand renewable energy sector as one of the opportune sectors for in- vestment.

But also enough amounts of resources are required in con- ducting feasibility studies and assessments for renewable energy projects.

The government should design policy and legal framework incentives that at- tract foreign direct investment in the area.

Meanwhile, project coordinator Msololo Onditi said there is a need for policy makers and the government to put in place specific policy for renewable energy that will stipulate specifically the importance of using renewable energy and directs the government to make effective utilization of it for the sake of protecting environment from carbon emission.

The available laws and policies including National energy Policy 2015, rural energy agency act 2001, Ewura regulation 2007 and electricity act have not put much emphasis on the utilization of renewable energy for both economic and domestic benefit.

Onditi said that the government is supposed to strengthen Municipal Councils across the country to be able to develop their own energy from renew- able sources available in their area.

“This should go hand in hand with provision of education to citizen on the importance of using renewable energy as best source of energy in order to reduce and completely eliminate the use of carbon based energy.

Investment in spotless and renewable energy sources such as hydro, solar, biomass, wind, and thermal power is an approach to- wards achieving universal access to cheap and affordable electricity by 2030.

“To achieve this and reduce global electricity consumption in industries and homes by 14 percent, there is the need for the adoption of cost-effective standards for a broad range of technologies,” he explained.

Each developing country is encouraged to expand its infra- structure and upgrade technologies to offer clean energy as a basic goal that can inspire socio- economic and political growth and environmental enhancement. furthermore, renewable energies are expected to increase direct and indirect employment opportunities from 10.3 million in 2017 to 24 million in 2030.