Burundi’s Future Is Clean, Green Renewable Energy

National Economy

The population of the Republic of Burundi is approximately 12.43 million people[1]. In 2019, only 11.06% of the people in this country in east-central Africa had access to electricity[2].

In 2019, Burundi’s economy was ranked 171st in gross domestic product (GDP) in the world[3]. The country’s economy is dependent[4] on the export of gold, coffee, tea, niobium ore, tantalum ore, vanadium ore, zirconium ore, and wheat flour.

Environment Policies

In 2016, Burundi signed the Paris Climate Agreement[5] pledging to reduce CO2 emissions by 52 million tons and to generate 20% of the nation’s total energy from renewables by 2025.

In 2019, Burundi’s on-grid and off-grid power plants used renewable energy (68.6 %) and oil (31.4 %) to generate electricity[6]. Hydropower is the dominant type of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Burundi.

Recent renewable energy projects in Burundi include:

  • 20 MW Hydropower Project – German engineering company, Voith is continuing work on the Kabu hydropower project, which is located in the Cibitoke province in the northwest region of the country. The project is forecast to be commissioned in June 2022.
  • 8 MW Solar Project s– In January 2021, the African Development Bank (AfDB) completed the installation of photovoltaic panels in villages in the eastern region of the country.
  • 65 MW Hydropower Project – Burundi renewable energy company, Songa Energy is continuing work on two hydroelectric power stations on the Mulembwe and Ruvyironza rivers in the southern region of the country.
  • 5 MW Solar Project – In October 2021, American solar company, Gigawatt Global commissioned a solar project in the town of Mubuga, which is approximately 6 miles east of the capital, Gitega.

Conclusions

Burundi has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources including hydropower, solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass. The country’s renewable resource potential could provide electricity to everyone in this beautiful but impoverished country.

Burundi’s economy has been devastated by civil war and now by Covid pandemic. New renewable energy projects have experienced repeated delays due to limited government funding, civil unrest, and pestilence.

Renewables are powering Burundi, but this beautiful country will require significant financial aid to dramatically increase the percentage of people with access to electricity.

 

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”

www.jackkerfoot.com

 

[1] Burundi Population (2022) –  January 10, 2022; www.worldometers.info

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

[3] Gross Domestic Product 2019 – World Bank DataBank

[4] The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – Burundi

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

[6] Our World In Data, Burundi:  Energy Country Profile by Hanna Ritchie and Max Roser

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