On March 13-14, 2013, a wide range of stakeholders gathered in Dar-es-Salaam for a Tanzania Government-hosted workshop to consider the country’s “Geothermal Legal and Regulatory Framework”. Participants included government officials, private developers, geothermal resource survey specialists, development partners, lawyers and civil society representatives.
The workshop, co-organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and British High Commission with support from the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), set out to identify ways to create an effective legal and regulatory framework to support geothermal development.
To open the workshop, Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals Stephen Masele spelled out the need for a dedicated framework for geothermal development, stating that with no clear framework in place, the Government has been forced to use the existing Mining Act to license companies interested in geothermal energy development.
AfDB Resident Representative Tonia Kandiero extended her institution’s support and confirmed that the Bank has begun to prepare a major geothermal development support program, with funding from the CIF Program for Scaling up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries (SREP), for which the AfDB serves as a key implementing agency.
During the two-day workshop, participants came up with a set of ideas for an effective geothermal framework:
- Legal and regulatory framework: (i) The Government must explicitly include geothermal energy as a development priority in its updated Energy Policy and the new Renewable Energy Policy; (ii) Geothermal power must be considered as a viable supply source while updating the Power System Master Plan; (iii) The Government must prepare a Geothermal Act and associated regulations to guide the development of the sector and attract private investors.
- Institutional Framework: (i) A Geothermal Division must be established within the Department of Energy in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, to ensure that geothermal development is well integrated with energy development and receives the necessary attention; (ii) There has to be clarity on the roles and responsibilities of the public and private sectors in various aspects and geothermal development, from resource exploration, to power development and the Geothermal Division should be appropriately staffed with competent experts.
- Capacity Building: Tanzanian geothermal development capacities are presently weak with only about eight trained specialists. If the potential of geothermal energy is to be realized, human capacity in both public and private sectors must be strengthened. Expertise is required in geothermal resource development, planning, power development, project finance, and project management and social and environment safeguards expertise.
- The SREP in Tanzania will offer an excellent opportunity to implement some of the proposed recommendations that will be endorsed by the Government.