Project relevance-Tanzania's energy structure
The annual per capita energy consumption in Tanzania in 2009 was 150 kWh. Only 11% of households are connected to the electricity grid, 80% of them in the cities. In rural areas the figure is less than 5%, with 75% of the total population living in rural areas. The government's plan envisages 100,000 new connections every year. The energy supply in Tanzania is very unreliable and characterised by many failures. A nationwide grid is simply uneconomical due to the low population density in many areas (39 inhabitants/km2). [REA, GTZ]
Map of Tanzania, population density, energy network and power plants
Mloka, a town in the Rufiji Basin, was chosen as the project location because of the strong energy demand there. A connection to the national power grid is economically unviable and probably undesirable due to its status as a national park. Mloka has about 3500 inhabitants, who all live mostly without electricity.
An island solution, a hybrid system consisting of PV elements and diesel generators, is planned. The electricity is stored by means of a battery system. Furthermore, there is an acute energy demand from the local clinic. Medicine must be stored in a cool and dry place. Other medical instruments, such as centrifuges, also require electricity. Generating electricity for the school is a good way to attract qualified teachers and staff to this rural area. The use of computers and other equipment is made possible. Office buildings and grain mills (which are currently powered by small generators and the use of fossil fuels) will be connected to the public grid. Enterprises will be more flexible and relieved of the need to transport fossil fuels. However, the connection mainly benefits poor, rural households. Likewise, an electrical supply would make the Mloka region attractive for the telecommunications sector. This will have multiple effects on neighbouring settlements and lead to further tourism opportunities providing jobs and income. The rural population in particular will benefit from this.
The project aims at the energy supply of Mloka and the Mbega Camp through the use of a decentralized mini-grid. The two sites are connected by a 4km long underground line. Additionally, PV modules will be installed on the roof to compensate for the loss of voltage. The power plant is connected to two diesel generators and several battery banks to realize an island solution. The waste heat from the generators can be used for the hot water supply. This modern energy system will use 93% renewable energy as a priority component. Additional PV generator capacity in case of increased demand can be installed at any time. The project also includes plans for a local power grid in the village that can supply all households.