In 2022, Burundi’s economy was ranked 155th in gross domestic product (GDP) in the world. The country’s economy is dependent on the export of gold, coffee, tea, Niobium ore, Tantalum ore, Vanadium ore, Zirconium ore, and beer.
In 2016, Burundi signed the Paris Climate Agreement pledging to reduce CO2 emissions by 52 million tons and to generate 20% of the nation’s total energy from renewables by 2025.
Power Generation Capabilities
In 2021, 62.8% of the people in Burundi had access to electricity. In 2022, the state-owned utility, REGIDESO used renewable energy (69.4%) and refined petroleum (30.6%) to generate electricity. 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 – In July 2022, German engineering company, Voith commissioned the Kabu hydropower project, which is located in the northwest region of the country.
- 14 MW Solar Projects– In January 2021, the African Development Bank (AfDB) completed the installation of photovoltaic panels in villages in the eastern region of the country.
- 11 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. The projects are forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2023.
- 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.
Burundi imports all the nation’s refined petroleum for transportation and power generation. In 2021, Burundi imported U.S. $160 Million of refined petroleum.
Burundi has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources including hydropower, solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass. The country’s undeveloped renewable resources could provide electricity to everyone in this beautiful but impoverished country.
Burundi’s economy has been devastated by civil war, disease, and now volatile refined petroleum prices. New renewable energy projects have been delayed due to government funding, civil unrest, disease, and drought.
Photovoltaic solar projects are now providing electricity to the rural areas of Burundi. International financial aide is now providing clean, green electricity for Burundi.
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, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on a diverse range of energy issues.