Mauritania well positioned to become an exporter of renewable energy

Developing renewable energy potential for Mauritania will allow it to not only improve its economy, but to also overcome some of the economic difficulties faced by the country, according to the conclusions of a report published this week by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

This report that evaluated the country’s readiness for renewable energy concluded that the existing power grid, consisting of mini-grids, would make the development of renewable energy relatively easy.  And it elaborates further on the fact this transition would be conducted primarily using solar and wind energy and that it could be further enhanced through cooperation with the region of the Maghreb and that of West Africa.  This would allow Mauritania help power its own economic development, but ultimately, become an exporter of renewable energy.

“Mauritania has already implemented important steps towards using large-scale renewable energy sources connected to the network and non-network”, said the Director-general of IRENA.  “Given that renewable energies become a competitive advantage towards electricity produced from petroleum products in most of the country, Mauritania may rethink its energy strategy, creating a framework for integrating development of technical solutions and business models based on renewable energy.”

While the rate of households with access to electricity has approximately doubled since year 2000, it remains that access to energy services is limited in Mauritania because of the different geographical and economic factors such as the spread of large urban centres and a large rural population dispersed across the country.

Investments in wind and solar power would greatly increase capacity in renewable energy in Mauritania, but not enough to follow the increase of demand including the mining sector.  Expected that the demand for electricity increases between 2010 and 2030, by an incredible 600% primarily driven by the needs of the industry, but also because of the increase in domestic demand.

“Renewable energy sources can play an essential role in the development of the Mauritanian economy, especially in the productive sectors and to support activities related to agriculture and fisheries”, argues Mr. Mario Samaja, permanent representative of UNDP in Mauritania.