Why is Renewable Urgent in Somalia: Challenge and Solutions

    Up to 90% of the Somali population has no access to electric power. Although it does serious damage to the country’s environment, 87% of Somalia’s energy consumption comes from traditional biomass-type fuels: charcoal or firewood. Imported petroleum products account for 11%, while electric power generation using diesel fuel accounts for 2%.
    At between US$1 and US$1.5 per KW, electricity prices in Somalia is one of the highest in the world, if not in fact the highest. 
    The rural population of Somalia has very little or no access to electrical power. The main source of energy is charcoal produced from firewood or firewood itself. If a microwave cell phone tower is erected in the village, a small generator provides access power to the residential/commercial properties in the vicinity.
    Use of firewood is widespread especially in rural areas, and this is causing major environmental damage due to the depletion of forests and woodlands. However, it is the cheapest fuel available and culturally integrated into domestic lifestyle. In case of the latter, development of other affordable fuel types and substituting for charcoal will also ease the lifestyle of the female homemaker, who is traditionally responsible for the house chores. Other alternatives to traditional fuel provision will also mitigate the risk of women’s exposure to Sexual Gender Based Violence while collecting firewood outside the home.
    The introduction of alternative sources of energy at both the micro and macro levels will help improve the livelihood of the communities in Somalia and expand the productive capacity. The multiplier effect and economic opportunity of having access to electricity, particularly in rural areas, is significant. Access to electricity expands Somalia’s private sector, bolsters communities and creates employment opportunities – all of which underpin stability.
    Electricity supply is critical for improving communications and lighting – both of which contribute to stability and improving security. Additionally, with the government and local administrations enabling the private sector to expand and operate the alternative energy sector, it frees the government and local administrations to focus on other pressing concerns.
    Economic development can be achieved by employing cost effective, sustainable and environmentally friendly solution, improving the electricity infrastructure and supply would be one of the most effective options. 
    Public Private Partnership (PPP) under existing frameworks can expand electricity supply industry with private investment and management for the speedy recovery and development of the industry.
    Stand-alone, decentralized rural energy systems based on renewable sources are considered to be a viable option for meeting the energy needs of sub-rural communities. The concept being pursued in this is based on an appropriately sized solar and wind energy conversion systems.
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