The Energy Sector Electricity, LPG and Renewable Energy

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The main energy resources in the country comprise of fuel wood, petroleum products, electricity, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), renewable Energy (a center exists for research and development on this). The government is encouraging use of other energy sources and at the moment utilisation of solar PV equipment is increasing in the country for both industrial, commercial and domestic uses; use of biomass is also on the increase though confined to agricultural waste such as saw dust, groundnut shells, straw. Use of windmills for powering water pumps is also encouraged and is increasing throughout the country.

The Electricity Sub - Sector

The provision of efficient, reliable and affordable energy that is sustainable and environmentally sound is the main objective in the government energy policy framework.

Regarding the electricity sector, the core problems and objectives of the government remain the following:

- Increase of generating capacity that is presently inadequate and unable to meet the demand estimated to range between 15MW and 30MW. The government therefore seeks foreign and local partnership in increasing generating capacity.

- capital investment to improve the poor state of the transmission and distribution system which result in high technical losses and un-metered consumption estimated at about 40%; and

- improving efficiencies so as to reduce the extremely high cost of energy estimated at an average of US$0.18.

The Government continues to undertake measures at overcoming these problems through institutional strengthening and other restructuring efforts. In that regard, the Government welcomes local and foreign interest in the sector so as to achieve, in the short to medium term, the following:

- Reduce the cost of electricity
- Increase the accessibility and supply reliability of electricity nationwide, and
- Mitigate the environmental impact of the power sector

Strategies laid down for the electricity include the creation of a more conducive legal and regulatory framework, the formation of a partnership with the private sector, and the participation of independent power producers (IPP's).. Negotiations are being intensified with donor agencies and private companies on all these.

Renewable Energy Promotion and Development

The government of The Gambia is encouraging renewable forms of energy including solar PV systems, wind energy, biomass and other renewable energy systems and technologies. The country enjoys year-round sunshine ideal for tapping solar energy for commercial and domestic purposes. There is potential to develop the wind and biomass sources. The government has established Gambia Renewable Energy Center and seeks to collaborate with interested companies, individuals, development charities, research entities for the development of renewable energy.