Drivers and barriers to rural electrification in rural Tanzania and Mozambique – interaction between stakeholders
Conference contribution, 2011
Mozambique and Tanzania are countries with very low rural electrification rates – far below 5 % percent of the rural population use electricity. The pace of rural grid electrification is slow and for most remote areas access to the national electricity grids will not occur within a foreseeable future. Off-grid (decentralized) electricity grids are seen as a complement and fore-runner to the national grid, making electricity available many years in advance and creating demand and a customer base. Most off-grid systems are supplied by diesel generators which entail unreliable and costly electricity. Alternative off-grid energy sources exist in the region, such as biofuels, wind, micro-hydro and solar PV; but there are significant barriers to adoption, adaptation and diffusion of such renewable energy-based technologies.
In this study, the specific drivers and barriers for rural electrification and off-grid solutions in both countries are explored across a stakeholder spectrum. By qualitative methodology, data was collected in semi-structured interviews carried out with energy sector stakeholders from national to local level; and in visits to off-grid projects in Tanzania and Mozambique during eight weeks in 2010. Findings illustrate country-specific institutional, financial and poverty-related drivers and barriers to grid and off-grid electrification, as perceived by different energy sector stakeholders. The interaction between national and local stakeholders is described and how they perceive the potential for renewable energy sources; it is further analyzed whether different perspectives and understandings may create conflicts or barriers to successful implementation and management. In both countries the top-down structure and low institutional quality of the energy sectors create financial and political barriers for local actors and non-governmental organizations. However, although renewable energy sources are of limited technical capacity and face economical difficulties, their introduction work as a driver for increased demand and social development, improving the customer base for future grid extension.
Drivers and Barriers