Niger Dreams Of Electricity From Solar

The population of the Republic of Niger is approximately 24.36 million people[1]. In 2018, only 17.6% of the people in this landlocked, west African country had access to electricity[2].

Niger’s economy is ranked 25th among the forty-seven countries in Sub-Sahara Africa[3]. The country’s economy is dependent on agriculture and the export of uranium, oil, and gold.

Niger’s existing power infrastructure is underdeveloped[4], and the country relies heavily on imported electricity from the neighboring country of Nigeria. In 2018, Nigeria used natural gas (66.5%), renewable energy (18.0%), and oil (16.5%) to generate electricity in the country[5]

In 2016, Niger signed the Paris Climate Agreement[6], committing to an unconditional 3.5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to a business-as-usual scenario. The country further committed to a 34.6% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 on the condition of international support.

In 2004 the Niger government implemented the National Strategy on Renewable Energy which was designed to increase renewable energy usage from less than 0.1% in 2003 to 10% in 2020. In September 2020, Niger’s use of renewable energy is much closer to 2003 levels , then the 2020 goal of 10%.

After months of discussion, Niger’s Council of Ministers have taken a small step toward beginning construction on the Gorou Banda thermal power plant, which will be located south of the capital, Niamey. Power from the 30 MW to 60 MW capacity solar park will be tied into a planned 330 kW high-voltage power line.

The Gorou Banda thermal power plant is estimated to cost US $70 million. The French Development Agency and the European Union have pledged loans of US $27.8 million and $5.9 million respectively toward the construction of this project.

The Gordou Banda thermal power plant will provide electricity to approximately 18,000 homes, while reducing 23 tons of CO2 emissions per year. Construction of the solar park is not forecast to begin until 2023.

Niger has significant solar  renewable energy resources, which if developed could provide electricity to everyone in the country. However, Niger’s dream of providing electricity to everyone in the nation will only be achieved with substantial international aid.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

[1] Niger Population (2020) –  September 10, 2020

[2] World Bank, “Access To Electricity (% Population) – Niger”

[3] The Heritage Foundation – Niger

[4] International Energy Agency – Niger

[5] U.S. Energy Information Agency – Nigeria 2018

[6] Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

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