Modelling Renewable Energy Integration “A System Dynamics Approach: Case of Tanzania
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lack of access to affordable modern energy that is evident in most Sub-Saharan countries amidst other challenges which include climate change, high population growth rates, urbanisation, depleting fossil fuels, to mention just but a few, raises the need for accelerated actions to be taken towards achieving sustainable energy systems. This study uses a system dynamic modelling approach to justify the need for more efforts towards renewable energy integration. A physical model that incorporates the social, economic, technical, political and environmental aspects of Tanzania’s energy system is prepared; to calculate energy price ratios of three electricity generating technologies; natural gas turbines hydro power and other renewable energies (which are the target focus in this study and are combined as solar PV and wind). In addition, the model is used to determine the energy demand response to the energy price ratio changes of the technologies over a 30-year time horizon. Results of the modelling exercise show that natural gas and hydro power technologies which are currently contributing the majority share in the electricity mix of Tanzania and thus driving the current electricity price in the country will experience a very small decrease in the energy price ratios during the modelling period. The price ratios of these 2 technologies will remain just below 1 even with high levels of commitment from Tanzanian authorities to promote them, which shows that relying on these generating technologies will result in a small decrease in the electricity price. On the other hand, renewables experience a significant decrease in the energy price ratio. The energy price ratio of renewables is expected to reduce and match that of hydro-power and natural gas and eventually reach an estimated value of 0.5 which suggests that deploying renewable electricity in Tanzania could result in the electricity price in the country cutting by half. The low energy price ratios of renewable energy results in an estimated 30% increase in energy demand for renewables and this resultant high energy demand values indicate that, more electricity consumers especially the low-income consumers (which make up the largest share of Tanzania’s population) will be attracted to renewable electricity. Hence, renewable electricity can play a major role in fostering access to affordable energy in Tanzania and therefore, more commitment by Tanzanian authorities is required to attain a reduced electricity price ratio for renewable electricity sooner in order to accelerate renewable energy deployment.