23 July 2014

Tanzania: Climate Change Impacts Hydropower Generation

Morogoro — CLIMATE change has been pointed out as a reason to decreasing electricity generation from hydropower sources, which has had an adverse impact on the economy.

Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Mr Ngosi Mwihava, said the country had for a long time depended on hydropower generation as it is cheaper compared to other sources.

Opening a training seminar for energy sector experts, Mr Mwihava said climate change had resulted in the lowering of dam water levels, thus producing insufficient power to run turbines and forcing the government to look for other power generation sources.

As a result, he said, the government was spending a lot of money on the purchase of heavy diesel oil for running power generators.

He said while the public has been blaming Tanesco and the government for hiked power tariffs, increasing running costs were really the reason for the hike.

The PS gave the example of Nyakato power station in Mwanza city which spent 300,000 litres of heavy fuel oil per day, which was far higher than the revenue from the generated power.

As an alternative, he said the government was considering other options for cheaper and more reliable power generation which took into account the environmental aspect according to the 2025 National Development Vision.

He said it would be unwise for the country to resolve to advance economically while putting future generation of power at the mercy of climate change ravages.

The training facilitator, Prof Pius Yanda, from the University of Dar es Salaam, said much as environmental impact was not that big in Africa, caution had to be taken, especially in Tanzania where deforestation was fast increasing owing to charcoal production and bush fires in rural areas.

He called for concentrated efforts in addressing power generation challenges caused by climate change, saying if the situation was left unchecked by 2030 worse ravages would befall the country.

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