The role that energy plays in the alleviation of poverty and in economic development is well known. Indeed, it can be argued that without the sustained and concerted effort to provide modern energy to all segments of the population, development goals will not be reached. It is thus encouraging that the country has embarked developing and reviewing comprehensive policies and strategies for the energy sector.
In recognition of the importance of energy in the nation’s development, the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma has declared energy as one of his highest priorities. The Ministry of Energy, is aware that the expectations of the President will not be met, unless and until clear and comprehensive policies are established, on the basis of which, action will be taken to address the energy needs of the country.
Renewable Energy Policy
Energy consumption in Sierra Leone is dominated by biomass, which accounts for over 80% of energy used (EUEI-PDF, 2013; Tarawalli survey, 2014). The largest source of biomass energy is wood fuel followed by charcoal. Imported petroleum products are the next largest source of power at approximately 13%. Grid-generated electricity accounts for the remainder of the power supplied to the country’s citizens. Wood fuel is the traditional form of energy and is used almost exclusively by households for cooking and craft activities. Petroleum, on the other hand, is the most important source of energy for the modern productive energy sector (including transportation and private electricity generation).
Energy Efficiency Policy
A review of the energy sector in Sierra Leone reveals that poor efficiency plagues almost every energy subsector, ranging from non-technical losses or theft to low efficiencies of firewood and charcoal combustion. The low efficiency means an unnecessary waste that could be ill-afforded in a country in which energy supplies are well below the suppressed demand.