The population of the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe is approximately 229,000 people. In 2020, 76.6% of the people of this island nation off the western coast of Central Africa had access to electricity.
The nation consists of two archipelagos around the two largest islands of São Tomé and Príncipe. The island nation is located approximately 150 miles off the northwest coast of the nation of Gabon.
In 2021, São Tomé and Príncipe’s economy was ranked 208th in the world in gross domestic product (GDP). The country’s economy is dependent on the export of gas turbines, cocoa beans, aircraft parts, palm oil, and iron fasteners.
In 2016, São Tomé and Príncipe signed the Paris Climate Agreement, committing to a series of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emission below business-as-usual levels.
Power Generation Capabilities
In 2020, state-owned Empresa de Água e Electricidade (EMAE) used oil (90.0%) and renewable energy (10.0%) to generate electricity in São Tomé and Príncipe. Hydropower is the dominant type of renewable energy used to generate electricity in São Tomé and Príncipe.
Recent renewable energy projects in São Tomé and Príncipe include:
- 1,100 kW Solar Project – Portuguese company, Cleanwatts is continuing work on a solar project for the airport on the island of São Tomé. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2022.
- 540 kW Solar Project – In August 2022, state-owned Empresa de Água e Electricidade (EMAE) commissioned the first phase of a 2 MW solar project in the city of Santo Amaro on the island of São Tomé.
- 300 kW Solar Project – Cleanwatts is continuing work on a solar project for the airport on the island of Principe. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2022.
- 300 kW Solar Project – Cleanwatts has announced plans to build another solar project on the island of São Tomé in 2023.
São Tomé and Príncipe imports all the nation’s oil for power generation and transportation. In 2020, São Tomé and Príncipe spent U.S. $116.7 Million just for imported refined petroleum.
On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, resulting in the United States, Canada, and the European Union placing embargos on Russian exports. The international price for crude oil increased by over 50% from May 2021 to May 2022.
São Tomé and Príncipe has significant renewable energy resource potential, including solar, wind, and biomass. The dramatic increase in oil prices has prompted the government to implement plans to develop of renewable energy projects across the island nation.
São Tomé and Príncipe is turning to the sun to replace diesel-fueled power plants.
Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”
Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy related topics.
 World Bank, Access To Electricity (% Population) – São Tomé and Príncipe
 Gross Domestic Product By Country 2021 – Worldometer
 The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – São Tomé and Príncipe
 Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”
 Our World In Data, São Tomé and Príncipe: Energy Country Profile by Hanna Ritchie and Max Roser
 The Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC) – São Tomé and Príncipe Imports