Solar Offers Niger The Dream Of Electricity

National Economy

The population of the Republic of Niger is approximately 25.22 million people[1]. In 2019, only 17.8% of the people in this landlocked, west African country had access to electricity[2]

In 2019, Niger’s economy was ranked 134th in gross domestic product (GDP) in the world[3]. The country’s economy is dependent[4] on the export of gold, oily seeds, uranium, natural gas, and refined petroleum.

Environment Policies

In 2004 Niger’s 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% by 2020

In 2016, Niger signed the Paris Climate Agreement[5], committing to an unconditional 3.5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to a business-as-usual scenario.

In 2019, Niger’s state-owned utility,  Société Nigerienne d’Electricité (NIGELEC) generated only 0.59 TWh of electricity.

In 2019, NIGELEC[6] used oil (72.9%), coal (22.0%), and renewable energy (5.1%) to generate electricity. Solar was the only source of renewable energy in Niger.

Recent renewable energy projects in Niger include:

  • 50 MW Solar Project – In June 2021, the World Bank’s financing arm has signed a partnership with the government to add 50 MW of solar power to Niger’s national power grid.
  • 20 MW Solar Project – In August 2020, Niger’s Council of Ministers announced that construction of the Gorou Banda thermal power plant, which is located approximately 3 miles south of the nation’s capital, Niamey will begin in 2023.
  • 9 MW Solar + 11.55 MW Energy Storage Project – Indian engineering firm, Sterling and Wilson are continuing work on a solar plus energy storage project in the city of Agadez, approximately 300 miles northeast of Niamey.

Conclusions

Niger has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources including solar, wind, biomass, and hydropower. If developed, Niger’s renewable energy resources could provide electricity to everyone in the beautiful country.

Niger’s 2004 goal of increasing renewable energy usage to 10% by 2020, failed as the nation achieved approximately half the goal by 2020. The government has also made virtually no progress to provide electricity to over 20 million people in Niger.

Fortunately, international aid organizations have begun to invest in renewable energy projects in Niger. Solar and other forms of renewable energy now offer Niger the dream of electricity!

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

[1] Niger Population (20201 –  August 1, 2021, www.worldometers.info

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

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] The Observatory of Economic Complexity – Niger

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

[6] Niger: Energy Country Profile, Our World In Data, University of Oxford

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