Geothermal Power, A Viable Mini-Grid Solution for Rural Electrification in Tanzania. A Case Study of Kisaki Village
[Tanzania Geothermal Development Company Limited, Tanzania, United Rep of]
Despite registered strides made in rural electrification programmes primarily through traditional grid extension approach, findings show that only 17% of the rural population (38 million) had access to modern and sustainable energy services. The rural electrification progress has remained very slow due to the remoteness of many villages, high cost of connections due to the low population densities ad complicated terrain which makes the extension of centralised grid system uneconomical and hard to implement. To meet the energy demand, the off-grid communities utilise costly and non-environmentally friendly energy sources such as kerosene fuel (for lighting), diesel generators (for productive works and lighting) and biomass (for cooking). All of these alternatives pose reliability, adequacy and environmental challenges in the provision of energy services in the rural areas. The isolated mini-grids technology that generates electricity through tapping into locally available renewable fuels resources and distribution networks. As the mini-grids built and operated near the electric loads required to serve, help to lessen the need for the construction of costly high voltage transmission lines and hence increases the resilience of grids to both natural disasters and cyber-attacks. Geothermal energy can leverage its geographical development barrier of being located in remote areas to generate it's uniquely reliable, affordable, and environmentally sound baseload power to meet the demand of these isolated communities. The existence of proven, robust, mature technology, enabling policies and regulatory framework can improve the commercial viability and adoption of isolated mini-grids utilising low-enthalpy geothermal resources for small-scale power generation and distribution hence playing an important role in accelerating access to modern electricity to the rural communities in Tanzania, particularly those closer to undeveloped but commercially viable hydrothermal resource and hence helps to unlock the inclusive growth in remote rural areas. Tanzania is categorised as a regional leader in mini-grid development in East Africa, deployment of geothermal mini-grid systems can leverage heavily on the lessons learnt from other renewable energy technologies with feasible business models. Kisaki geothermal prospect with a thermal spring of a maximum surface temperature of 72.3°C, located more than 200 kilometres from the central grid presents a good case for this study. Upon confirmation of geothermal resources through test drilling, electricity can be deployed in a relatively swift manner via small-scale Organic Rankine Cycle binary power plant and distribution lines typically operating below 11 kilovolts to Kisaki communities that would otherwise have to wait for a lengthy period for a grid connection.
|        Topic: Power Generation||Paper Number: 26038|