Power rationing in Tanzania due to broken infrastructure and drought

Maintenance challenges and water shortages induced by climate change have resulted in a 400-megawatt electricity deficit in Tanzania, leading to power rationing throughout the East African country, as reported by the state power supplier.

Tanzania’s national grid, equipped with an installed capacity exceeding 1,900 MW, has been grappling with deteriorating infrastructure at gas wells and gas-fired power facilities, alongside diminished water levels at hydropower dams, according to Gissima Nyamo-Hanga, the managing director of the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO).

TANESCO, a government-owned entity, anticipates that maintenance activities will be concluded, and the electricity shortfall will be addressed by the end of March next year, as conveyed by Gissima Nyamo-Hanga in remarks to reporters on Wednesday.

Despite the government’s efforts to rapidly expand electricity access, Tanzania still lags behind, with only 38% of its population having access to electricity, as indicated by the World Bank.

“We expect that this problem will start easing within two weeks, and our plan is to reduce the shortage by an average of 100 MW a month,” Nyamo-Hanga said.

The Julius Nyerere hydropower dam, with a capacity of 2,115 MW, began its water filling process in December of the previous year and is projected to be completed by June 2024 and is expected to more than double Tanzania’s installed electricity capacity, as conveyed by the energy ministry.

The government is actively involved in numerous other power projects, including a 150 MW solar farm, as it works towards its objective of achieving a capacity of 5,000 MW by 2025.

Nyamo-Hanga stated that the Nyerere dam was 92% complete, yet the impact of climate change, including reduced rainfall, is resulting in water shortages and diminished water levels at current dams.

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