Burkina Faso: Energy Resources
|Energy Consumption||0.02 Quadrillion Btu|
|2-letter ISO code||BF|
|3-letter ISO code||BFA|
|Numeric ISO code||854|
|UN Region||Western Africa|
|Energy Maps||0 view|
|Energy Organizations||0 view|
|Research Institutions||0 view|
|CIA World Factbook, Appendix D|
|Wind Potential||0||Area(km²) Class 3-7 Wind at 50m||89||1990||NREL|
|Coal Reserves||Unavailable||Million Short Tons||N/A||2008||EIA|
|Natural Gas Reserves||0||Cubic Meters (cu m)||198||2010||CIA World Factbook|
|Oil Reserves||0||Barrels (bbl)||197||2010||CIA World Factbook|
Energy Maps featuring Burkina Faso
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Policy and Regulatory Overview 
Only about 18% f the population has access to electricity, about 40% in urban areas and 3% in rural areas.
The regional policy supporting access to energy services for rural areas known as the Regional White Paper, was adopted January 2006 by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of States. The regional policy aims to contribute to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and to reduce poverty.
With regard to the electricity sector, the country is currently confronted with two challenges:The need to ensure a substantial increase in the country’s power supply to meet a fast-growing demand and;The need to extend power supply to several urban and rural localities while improving the reliability and quality of the overall service.
Total installed electricity capacity (2008): 252 MWThermal: 87.3%Hydro-electric: 12.7%Burkina Faso has produced about 619.4 GWh, and imported more than 135.7 GWh in 2008.Total primary energy supply (2008) : 478.8 ktoeBiomass: 84%Petroleum Products: 10%Hydro-electric: 6%The majority of the population (about 90%) still relies on wood energy (firewood and charcoal). The limited fossil energy sources available in Burkina Faso do not lend themselves to commercial utilisation. Energy in Burkina Faso is provided by fuelwood as the main source, followed by hydrocarbons, hydroelectricity and renewables (mainly solar).The constraints on the utilisation of hydropower have led the country to set up thermal power generation plants, with high production costs, to meet a fast growing demand.
The Ministry of Trade is responsible for setting electricity tariffs in the country. The Ministry is supported by independent authorities who issue supporting regulations for the price-setting process. The Ministry of Energy is responsible for the general control of the electricity sector, as well as planning for its development.
SONABEL is the main vertically-integrated operator, with a national monopoly on the generation and distribution of electricity in the country's urban centres. SONABEL is a public utility for which the state provides the majority of operating capital. In March 2010, the government announced that the previously-proposed privatisation of SONABEL was to be scrapped, due to the belief within the government that a privately-managed, performance-contracted organisation is more effective than full privatisation.SONABHY is a state-owned company, with a monopoly in the downstream petroleum sector of the country.
With household energy needs predominantly being met with traditional biomass fuels, the potential for efficiency in the residential sector is high. The construction and sale of energy-efficient stoves for cooking has been successful in reducing biomass demand, a project run by German Technical Assistance (GTZ) and Foyers Améliorés au Burkina Faso (FAFASO). Energy efficiency projects have also been run in the beer brewing sector, financed by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).
In Burkina Faso, Energy needs are essentially met using solid biomass (fuel wood). The increased use of fuel wood, along with decreases in the volume of rainfall has accelerated deforestation. For the period 1990–2005, the area of forest and other wooded land decreased by 350,000 ha, a tend which is expected to continue.In recent years, Burkina Faso’s power utility, SONABEL (http://www.sonabel.bf/), has faced system transmission and distribution losses of over 60%, much higher than the internationally accepted norm of 10%. In addition, tariffs barely recover the operating costs of the expensive SONABEL power. The hidden costs of these operational inefficiencies are approximately equivalent to 37% of SONABEL’s revenues. These hidden costs, though lower than the average in low-income African countries, represent a significant burden for the expansion plan of the sector.
Agencies active in the field of sustainable energy in the country include:Local authorities competent in the area of local planning, concession contracting and/or supplying electricity.Independent Power Producers (EDENE, GG-Y, BERCODE) which, under concession agreements, can perform studies, manage energy supply systems and support cooperatives, municipalities and users in the implementation of their projects. The private sector, after the eventual privatisation of SONABEL, may also become involved in the transport and distribution of energy.Technical development partners assisting the state, municipalities, and the private and associative sector in the implementation of national strategies and policies for energy supply throughout the national territory. Partners include the European Union (MEPRED project), UEMOA, ECOWAS, the World Bank (ESDP), and the Danish Cooperation Agency, (DANIDA).
Electricity marketElectricity is provided by the national electricity company, Société Nationale Burkinabè d’Electricité (SONABEL, www.sonabel.bf) who have a capacity of 208,685 kVA, of which 83.% is generated from thermal sources and 16.97% from hydropower. Industrial groups also generate 16,823 kVA of their own power, mainly from thermal sources.Liquid fuels marketThe supply of petroleum products is controlled by the Société Nationale Burkinabe d'Hydrocarbures (SONABHY), a state-owned company. The Ministry of Trade supervises SONABHY with regards to import and trade issues, while the Ministry of Finance controls all financial matters. The Burkina Bureau of Mines and Geology is in charge of quality control for retailed petroleum products. The tasks of SONABHY are:The import, storage, and marketing of petroleum products and gas,The support of research activities for alternative energy resources and energy conservation.Construction of storage to guarantee sufficient distribution.Biomass marketThe biomass sector of Burkina Faso is mainly overseen by the Ministry of Environment, who primarily focus on the sustainable production of firewood and charcoal. The Ministry of Trade regulates the transport of these commodities as well as related tax issues. The Ministry of Energy plans and regulates the firewood and charcoal demand in urban areas of Burkina Faso.
Degree of independence
The Ministry of Energy is a direct subsidiary of the Burkinabé government, with the Minister being directly appointed by the President, and funding being acquired from the national budget.
Burkina Faso is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is working towards greater regional cooperation in energy. ECOWAS has approved an Energy Protocol that outlines principles for cross-border energy trade and investment. As part of the West African Power Pool (WAPP), Burkina Faso is also looking to benefit from proposed inter-connections between member states.In recent years, there has been a systematic effort by the Burkinabè authorities to increase power trade with neighbours in the regional West African Power Pool (WAPP). Investment has been carried out to integrate the national power system into a unified regional electricity market by building interconnections with Côte d’Ivoire, the Bobo-Dioblasso-Ouagadougou which is planned to be functional by 2014, and with Ghana, expected to commence in 2011.
A sector reform was launched with the Energy Sector Development Policy Paper (“Lettre de politique de développement du secteur de l’énergie”) in December 2000. Following this new policy strategy, a first measure had been the opening of the national power and hydrocarbon companies (SONABEL and SONABHY) to private participation (law no. 15-2001/AN).The next steps occurred in 2004-2005 with the 060/98/AN law revision project, whichpromoted further institutional changes :The Power sector would be split in two segments: the first one consists of centres already exploited by SONABEL, and the rest is the responsibility of the rural electrification fund (“Fond de Développement de l’Electrification” – FDE).SONABEL would become a concessionaire and has the sole responsibility of exploiting and maintaining the existing infrastructure, while the ownership istransferred to a dedicated entity.Funding and supervising of rural electrification would be led by the FDE through concessions to natural persons or legal entities.A regulation entity would also be createdWhile the FDE was created in February 2003 (in collaboration with Danish cooperation) and has been effectively operational since November 2004, the regulator and the infrastructure management entity are not yet operational.Up to now, there are no policies or strategic directions for the utilisation of renewable energy. However, a guiding principle for PV was outlined in a program to supply basic energy services. Adopted in 2007, the Strategy for Rural Electrification supports solar energy for the electrification of rural areas currently lacking connection to the SONABEL grid.Currently, a national strategy for the regulation of wood fuel trade is being elaborated by the government. Furthermore, in December 2000, the government of Burkina Faso began to elaborate energy and poverty alleviation policies with the following objectives:Development of the energy administration (capacity and policy formulation);Enhancement of efficient energy supply (electricity, hydrocarbons, wood fuel, renewable energies);Socio- economic development, and;The alleviation of poverty.The Government’s Ministère de l’Environnement et du Cadre de Vie is also trying to promote energy-efficient butane stoves to slow deforestation and reduce pollution from wood fuel, but progress is difficult. In order to meet the future demand for energy, the government launched some actions, including:An Electricity and Infrastructure Strengthening and Rural Electrification Project to rehabilitate and extend the national energy generation and energy grid. While this project will increase accessibility, measures to improve the efficiency of the system need to be implemented in order to decrease dependency on neighbouring countries’ power sources.Additional adaptation options for the energy sector include ‘green’ stoves and other alternative energy equipment, such as water heaters and solar dryers.Declaration on the use of solar energyIn Ouagadougou in October 2009, there was a commitment to promote the development of a national solar central plant. This initiative merits further attention.Regional Programme for the Promotion of Household and Alternative Energies in the Sahel, (PREDAS)A regional programme, partly funded by the European Community, to promote household and alternative energies in nine Sahel countries, including Burkina Faso. This programme has carried out a comparative study of the energy taxation systems in the nine countries and proposed recommendations to the countries.
Burkina Faso is neither an oil producer nor an exporter. Therefore, the country is heavily dependent on imported hydrocarbons from neighbouring countries, particularly the Ivory Coast. for use in electricity production, transport and other industries.Nowadays, Burkina imports 15% of the electricity consumed. The power capacity from neighbours comes at much lower prices.
Role of the government
The sector is managed by the Ministry of Energy in close cooperation with the ministries of trade, finance and environment. The Ministry has administrative control over SONABEL, which has the monopoly on electrification of the country's urban centres.The Ministry of Energy fulfils its mission via:The Direction Générale de l’Energie (Electricity Management Department).The Fonds de Développement de l’Electrification (planning and finance programmes for rural electrification).The Direction des études et de la Planification (Studies and Planning Department).The Organe de Régulation du Sous-secteur de l’Electricité, the Electricity Regulator; an independent body, yet to be created, which will ensure fair competition between generators and protect consumers.The Commission de régulation des prix de l'électricité (Electricity Price Regulating Commission).The Conseil national de gestion de l’énergie (National Energy Advisory Council): an organisation for consultation and coordination between stakeholders, policy makers and electrification planners.
In November 2007, the Parliament adopted law No 027/AN1 in order to regulate the general electrical energy supply of Burkina Faso. This law is to enhance the qualitative and quantitative security of energy supply. It also aims at the reduction of the overall electricity costs by liberalising the production and distribution of electricity within Burkina Faso, as the electricity sector is currently dominated by the monopolist SONABEL.
The main challenge to developing wide-spread use of energy from renewable sources such as solar is the high costs of the technology and import tax. Another challenge is the lack of availability of assessments/studies on the potentials and impacts of such an investment on the environment, economy and society both at the national and sub-national levels.Institutional and legislative challenges, as well as obstructions by some multinational oil companies, are acting as a limiting factor to solar energy development and market penetration. They also hinder the development of local, low energy water boilers, with potential for job creation and promoting use of nonfossil, non-wood energy.
The sector is directly regulated by the government through the Minister of Energy.
In Burkina Faso, renewable energy concerns mainly the use of the fuel wood. Indeed, at household level in peri-urban and rural areas, biomass is the primary energy source for cooking. Due to accelerating urbanization in recent decades, services in peri-urban areas are collapsing under the strain of rapid development, resulting in an uncontrolled sanitation and household energy insecurity. However, the further development of renewable energy technologies is only marginally supported by the government, despite its significant potential.Solar energyAccording to a study by the Research Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology (IRSAT) and the Direction of National Meteorology (DMN), the average potential is high, estimated at 5.5 kWh/m2/day for 3,000 to 3,500 hours per annum. Currently, photovoltaic solar systems are used for refrigeration, water pumping, communication, lighting, video and television.Wind energyDue to the western location of Burkina Faso, the potential for wind power is very limited. The average wind speed ranges between 1 and 3 m/s, with the maximum only obtained in the North. However, small-scale generators at suitable sites and for selective purposes (e.g. water pumping, desalination systems etc.) might be feasible.Biomass energyIn many provinces of Burkina Faso, especially in the Sudano-Sahelian and Sudanian Zone, sufficient biomass resources are available. The production of biomass resources is particularly substantial in the forest areas of the East, West and Southwest.Geothermal energyNo study has been conducted as to the geothermal potential of Burkina Faso.HydropowerA survey of hydroelectric sites by the Centre National d’Equipement Hydraulique (EDFSONABEL, National Centre of Hydraulic Equipment) examined large and small scale hydroelectric sites. The capacity ranges between 65 and 550 kW with 5 to 15 GWh/year, and 550 to 1,700 kW with at least 5 GWh/year. The study shows that the hydropower potential of rural areas is sufficient for decentralised electricity production. The study identifies some sites where the estimated production cost range between CFAF 100 (US $0.19) and CFAF 175 (US $0.33) per kWh, and several others with estimated costs of at least CFAF 200 (US $0.38) per kWh. Hydroelectricity utilisation covers about 20% of the national electric consumption (incl. imports from Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire).
- National Action Programmes on Desertification
- Burkina Faso-Partnership for Action on Green Economy (PAGE)
- Burkina Faso-National Adaptation Plan Global Support Programme (NAP-GSP)
- Burkina Faso-Forest Investment Program (FIP)
- Burkina Faso-Reducing the GHG Impacts of Sustainable Intensification
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