Norway and Tanzania’s cooperation fostering a vibrant biogas sector

March 16, 2016

On March 9 2016, the Tanzania Domestic Biogas Programme (TDBP) received Norway’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Tone Skogen, during her official visit to Tanzania. Ms. Skogen visited one of the 184 biogas plants constructed in Tanzania’s Arusha region.

Domestic biogas is a source of sustainable energy for households with livestock and ultimately reduces dependency on firewood and other fuels. Biogas not only benefits households but an entire society. It also reduces health risks associated with indoor pollution.

Impressed with the achievements of TDBP, she particularly stressed the importance of biogas in improving health conditions of women in rural areas by using clean energy. ‘’The Norwegian and Tanzanian cooperation in the energy sector aims to promote the use of clean energy, which will enable each household have access to modern energy,’’ explained Ms. Kogen.

Part of her entourage was the Norwegian Ambassador to Tanzania, Hanne- Marie Kaarstad, who emphasized the importance of biogas’ contribution in reducing deforestation.

Speaking on behalf of the Rural Electrification Authority (REA), Ms. Justina Uisso indicated that off-grid energy is an important priority for the government of Tanzania in ensuring access to affordable clean energy through biogas. ‘’The use of biogas for clean cooking as an alternative to kerosene and firewood is REA’s top priority in enabling sustainable energy for all,’’ she said.

Standing next to her biogas plant, Ms. Sarah Kaaya confirmed that the use of firewood and charcoal would be history now that she is able to cook with clean gas.

Norway has been a significant development partner in Tanzania’s energy sector, having recently contributed approximately USD 1.6 million towards the construction of 10,000 biogas plants. It is expected that this contribution will enable increased access to clean, modern energy in rural and peri-urban areas.

The financing from Norway through the REA is mainly targeting investment discounts to enable biogas affordability to thousands of households in the rural areas. These discounts are channelled through private enterprises that construct biogas plants, which in turn are expected to decrease over the years to encourage self-dependency and sustainability. In addition, this investment will be scaled to expand the biogas market to institutions such as schools and prisons.

Hivos works with local partners and organisations through our multi-stakeholder programme in East and Sub-Saharan Africa to provide low-income groups with affordable access to clean energy. This has seen the creation of a vibrant biogas sector that has given thousands access to clean energy.

TDBP started operations in 2009, as part of the Africa Biogas Partnership Programme (ABPP). The aim of the ABPP is to initiate and assist large-scale dissemination of domestic biogas to benefit rural households, through a market-based approach.

Through TDBP, 12,000 biodigester plants have been constructed in Tanzania, bringing access to modern clean energy to more than 70,000 people.