Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Tanzania are mainly focusing on increasing pro-poor energy access. To support this endeavor there is a necessity for regulations, policies and financial incentives that can enable access to reliable, affordable and sustainable modern energy services. Furthermore, notable investment in capacity building and awareness raising among key stakeholders, policy makers and actors in all sectors, across the entire energy value chain, has been a crucial activity to most of the CSOs in Tanzania.
At present, there is no effective mechanism or legal framework for facilitating energy access for the majority of the population and enhancing inter-sectoral coordination among key sectors such as energy, environment, forestry, agriculture, land use, health, and social development. Given this situation, CSOs have further devoted their efforts to form coalitions and advocate for appropriate and pro-poor production, transmission and consumption of energy especially focusing on its current disharmonized and incoherent management. CSOs are mainly using policy advocacy approaches through bringing different stakeholders on board, particularly policy and decision makers. CSOs has even demonstrated efficient use of renewable sources of energy, especially for cooking (energy saving stoves), solar home systems (in homes, dispensaries, schools etc.), by training local communities and utilizing the outcomes as evidence for advocacy work. Generally, CSOs are capitalizing on renewable energy as it is available, and if well tapped, it can reach most if not all of the off-grid communities and those who cannot access energy due to financial constraints, especially the urban poor. There are opportunities that CSOs can take advantage of, especially in the local communities and at ministerial levels. Furthermore, the government has been engaging some of these CSOs in plans and relevant strategies regarding energy access improvement.
What Climate Action Network Tanzania is doing on energy access
Climate Action Network (CAN) Tanzania has been directly and indirectly dealing with energy issues. Initially, CAN Tanzania is dealing with efforts to unpack the usefullness of renewable energy for poverty reduction and sustainable development, with key focuses on Productive Use of Renewable Energy (PURE). The main aims of CAN Tanzania’s engagement with renewable energy are summarized below;
Identify key policy elements and instruments in the power, heating, cooking and transport sector in order to successfully move towards 100% Renewable Energy;
Identify opportunities for the relevant national policy frameworks and local governments to trigger action on the local level and extend their scope of action to address cross-cutting environmental, social and economic sustainability challenges by moving towards 100% Renewable Energy;
Demonstrate how strong coordination between the national and local governmental decision-making levels can enable 100% Renewable Energy in a decentralized municipal-level planning and decision-making authorities;
Develop concrete recommendations for a way forward, ensuring multi-stakeholder involvement, cross-sectoral collaboration, and that improved energy access contributes actively to socio-economic growth.
Furthermore, CAN Tanzania, together with relevant stakeholders, is currently developing a 100% Renewable Energy Scenario Study for Tanzania, to effectively cover the full scope of potential for renewable energy in the country. The idea behind this study is to analyze;
The technical Renewable Energy potential of Tanzania;
The country’s future energy demand given universal energy access;
Optimal Renewable Energy expansion trajectories, to achieve 100% RE by 2030, 2040, 2050;
The estimated costs and investments needed to realize different trajectories, and;
Socio-economic benefits of the different trajectories (e.g. jobs created).
In supplement to these plans, CAN Tanzania is striving to ensure that renewable energy is considered as a key resource to enable sustainable development at the local and national level. However, it is important to note that this will require a paradigm shift, that will lead to enhanced actions on both the supply and the demand side in the quest to achieve sustainable energy access for economic growth and poverty reduction. Furthermore, efforts are underway to ensure that Tanzania’s energy policy is coherent with the Paris Agreement, and reflects the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular the goals 6 and 7. CAN Tanzania is working hard to address this challenging situation, mainly by enhancing and streamlining stakeholder engagement in national debates and dialogues. The focus is on how to take advantage of the available resources to support a sustainable energy access, starting with local communities in Tanzania. In an attempt to operationalize this idea, we have started with three districts, in which the energy access will not only focus on domestic uses, but also for production purposes. This will further contribute on improved livelihood options and climate resilience building in the sectors of fisheries, crop farming and livestock keeping. The path to 100% renewable energy in Tanzania is complex and challenging, however, embarking on this endeavor could significantly improve the living standard for millions of people, increase their self-sufficiency, and create an example for the world.