Cameroon: Energy Resources
|Energy Consumption||0.10 Quadrillion Btu|
|2-letter ISO code||CM|
|3-letter ISO code||CMR|
|Numeric ISO code||120|
|UN Region||Middle 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||92||1990||NREL|
|Coal Reserves||Unavailable||Million Short Tons||N/A||2008||EIA|
|Natural Gas Reserves||135,100,000,000||Cubic Meters (cu m)||49||2010||CIA World Factbook|
|Oil Reserves||200,000,000||Barrels (bbl)||57||2010||CIA World Factbook|
Energy Maps featuring Cameroon
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Policy and Regulatory Overview 
Access to power has steadily improved in Cameroon. National access to electricity increased from 37% in 1996 to 46% in 2002, and to 48% in 2007, above the average for Africa’s resource-rich countries. Estimates of urban access suggest that between 65% and 88% of the urban population has access to electricity. At 88%, access to power in urban areas is greater than in most low-, middle-, and resource-rich countries in Africa. But these positive trends do not extend to rural areas: only about 14% of rural dwellers benefit from access to electricity, half the level incomparable countries.Electricity supply is unevenly distributed owing to the discontinuity of the national grid, which prevents the transfer of power among the three separate grids: the Northern Interconnected Grid (NIG), the Eastern Isolated Grid (EIG) and the Southern Interconnected Grid (SIG).
To tackle power cuts, and seasonal load shedding a national electricity development programme has been established, this consists mainly of the construction of large hydroelectric projects. These include the Memve'ele Hydroelectric Dam (200 MW) to be built on the river Ntem in the Southern region, and the Lom Pangar (170 MW) water reserve in the Eastern region.Other minor hydroelectric projects have equally been proposed such as the Natchtigal dam to reinforce energy supply to the Aluminium Smelting company (ALUCAM) in Edea. Cameroon hopes to triple electricity output to 3,000 MW by 2020 through a series of hydro and thermal generation projects.Cameroon– Energy Sector Development Project (2008-2013)Funded by the World Bank at a cost of US$65 million, the project aims to increase access to modern energy services in targeted rural areas, and improve the planning and management of sector resources by all energy sector institutions. The project is expected to contribute to improved reliability of electricity supply. Increased access to and reliability of electricity are key factors in the realization of the government's growth and poverty reduction strategy.The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) & Carbon Finance for Sustainable Energy in Africa (CF-SEA)Financed by the United Nations Foundation and the World Bank, and implemented under the supervision of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Carbon Finance for Sustainable Energy in Africa (CF-SEA) programme assists a number of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects in Cameroon while promoting clean energy technologies. Cameroon currently has about 60 MW of CDM projects under development, with estimated emissions reductions of about 2 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent until the end of the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period.At present, 70% to 80% of Cameroon’s power is derived from hydropower sources, with the remainder from conventional thermal. Cameroon’s first independent power producing agreement (IPP) will add 216 MW in power generation and trigger the development of Cameroon’s gas reserves, as yet unexploited. Also, Cameroon will further increase its generation capacity when the new Lom Pangar plant becomes fully operational.
The government is taking steps to strengthen the capacities of the regulatory agency, ARSEL, while working closely with AES-SONEL. These steps are in line with the implementation of the investment program that was agreed upon as part of the privatisation deal. The Cameroonian government is contemplating different options for improving the country’s capacity to generate electricity, including the construction of a new hydroelectric power plant. A revised National Energy Program is currently under discussion, especially with regard to the firewood sub-sector.A renewable energy policy is being prepared, with policy goals to increase the share of renewables in power and heat generation, and to involve private capital in the delivery of energy.
Total installed electricity capacity (2010): 1448 MW (including 476 MW from auto-producers).As of 2011, 70 to 80 percent of Cameroon’s power is derived from hydropower sources, with the remainder from conventional thermal.Total primary energy supply (2009): 6,918 ktoeBiofuels & waste: 64.1%Oil: 27.2%Natural Gas: 3.7%Hydro-electric: 5.0%Cameroon's energy balance shows a clear predominance of renewable energy (RE) sources particularly biomass. Despite the clear progress made with commercial forms of energy between 1990 and 2002, biomass is still the predominant fuel source (78.6% in 2003), with cooking and other residential uses accounting for 73%.
ARSEL is tasked with monitoring and regulating the electricity sector. Its principal missions are to:Monitor the sector's activity,Monitor the sector's financial equilibrium and approve tariffs,Examine concession licence applications,Authorise electricity generating and distribution in rural areas,Protect consumers, andPromote competition and facilitate private sector involvement in the sector.
A regulatory agency, created in 2000, was meant to ensure that the privitatisation of the enrgy market led to the development of competition.. However, AES-SONEL was awarded exclusive management responsibilities for generation, transmission and distribution assets for 20 years. This effectively entailed the transfer of monopoly, and energy security, from the government to a foreign-owned company.The vertically integrated power utility, AES-SONEL owns and operates the sole transmission system and distribution system, operating three distinct grids:The Southern Interconnected Grid (SIG) including Douala and Yaoundé.The Northern Interconnected Grid (NIG) – three Northern provinces served by Lagdo hydroelectric plant and 14 MW thermal generation.The Eastern Isolated Grid (EIG) – 86 Small Thermal Units (24MW) support 31 small distribution systems.All hydrocarbon rights are vested in the State, and the State reserves the right to acquire an interest in all or part of the petroleum operations.
The residential sector in the country contributes most to primary energy demand, totalling some 71%, including 95% of the nation's biomass consumption. Primary energy consumption per capita stands at 0.23 toe. Energy efficiency is not represented heavily in the national energy policy, and energy prices have been increasing steadily without efficiency improvements in infrastructure.
The key constraints facing the electricity sector relate to the narrow geographic space and relative obsolescence of the transmission and distribution networks. Consequently, there is significant unmet solvent demand. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that the country’s three main transmission grids are completely isolated from one another and no exchange of available surpluses can be made between the grids. Together with the Government, the Bank and other sector donors are all considering the best technical solution for interconnecting the three grids.
The Electricity Development Corporation (EDC, http://www.edc-cameroon.org/)The Electricity Development Corporation (EDC) was created in November 2006. The organisation is responsible for:Management of public assets in the electricity sector, on behalf of the state.Studying, preparing or executing any infrastructure projects in the electricity sector that are entrusted by the State;Participating in the promotion and development of public and private investment in the electricity sector.The Rural Electrification Agency (AER) The AER promotes electricity by providing operators and users with the technical, and possibly financial, assistance required for development of renewables. The agency acts as a rural electrification consultancy for the State and, as such, develops community management mechanisms for renewables, and organises the rural populations benefiting from electrical installations.The Energy Management UnitWithin the Ministry of Energy and Water, the Cellule de la maîtrise de l’Energie, has carried out a few tentative actions to promote renewable energy.
Electricity marketIn 2001, the state-owned, vertically integrated utility Société Nationale d'Electricité (SONEL) was privatized, becoming AES Sonel (http://www.aessoneltoday.com/), and granted a 20-year monopoly over generation, transmission and distribution in the concession area, as well as the right to own up to 1,000 MW of installed generation capacity. In 2006 the Electricity Development Corporation (EDC) was established as an asset holder.Petroleum and natural gas marketCameroon has committed to the privatisation of its state oil company, the National Hydrocarbons Company, SNH (www.snh.cm). SNH engages in exploration and production in conjunction with several Western oil companies. SNH is the state controlled oil producer and exploration company.
Degree of independence
Five out of nine ARSEL board members are appointed by the government, one is a consumer representative. There is some possible overlap with other regulatory agencies (for example, the Electricity Administration, AER and the Cameroonian Competition Commission).Financing for the institution comes from a levy on the industry for service and donor/lender funds.
Cameroon Renewable Energy; Project Possibilities: Commissioned in 2001, this study identifies the actions necessary to assess Cameroon’s energy needs, and makes recommendations to a design team for a USAID project to promote renewable energy sources.National Policies and Strategies on Bioenergy in Africa Case Study: CameroonThe Competence Platform for Energy Crop and Agroforestry Systems for Arid and Semi-Arid Ecosytems – Africa
The government’s policy seeks to get the country out of under-development, through the implementation of the long-term Energy Sector Development Plan (PDSE 2030) and the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP). The energy sector is now being considered as a factor for attracting investment and strengthening growth, particularly as Cameroon’s hydroelectric potential ranks second-highest in Central Africa, after that of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.Moreover, Cameroon’s development objectives under the Vision 2035 envisage significant investments in the energy sector, with the inclusion of renewables. The policy goals of the government are to ensure energy independence through increased production and delivery of electricity, of oil and gas (petroleum resources) and to ensure their contribution to economic development. With regard to rural areas Cameroon’s Rural Electrification Master Plan (PDER)concerns the electrification of about 660 localities through the extension of the interconnected grids, the rehabilitation and construction of isolated diesel power plants and mini-hydro plants as well as the development of a regional grid. By 2020, the Government aims to achieve a 48% countrywide electrification rate, a 75% electricity access rate and a 20% rural electrification rate. This project will contribute to the achievement of these objectives.
Although Cameroon is an oil producing country, the proportion of imported petroleum products in national consumption increased considerably between 1990 and 2000, with imports rising beyond the 56 percent mark in 2000, before dropping again in 2003. Petroleum imports, which constitute the entirety of the country's energy imports, totalled 2,356 ktoe in 2007.
Role of the government
Five main institutional players manage Cameroon's energy sector:1. The Ministère de l'Energie et de l'Eau, (MINEE − Ministry of Energy and Water) in charge of the design and implementation of the national energy policy;2. ARSEL, the Electricity Regulatory Agency;3. AER, the Rural Electrification Agency;4. AES-SONEL, the current operator which, under a framework concession contract from which individual concession contracts are derived applicable to each function, ensures the integrity of each of the sector's activities; and,5. SNH, the National Oil Company, in charge of the oil and gas sector.
Instead of specific legislation to promote renewable energy in general or specific clean technologies, there is rather a general legislation concerning the electricity sector. In its title IV, Chapter I, the law n°98/022 of 24 December 1998 governing the electricity sector, ARSEL and the REA are in charge of the promotion and the follow-up of the use of the primary sources of energy, in particular renewable sources.
The institutional environment of Cameroon does not encourage private investment. Insufficient investment regulations and a lack of standards and quality control mechanisms makes it almost impossible to collaborate with traditional financial institutes.It is therefore very difficult to establish a national market for renewable energy. Unreliable infrastructure, insufficient distribution networks, anticompetitive commercial framework as well as administrative bottlenecks and financial insecurity are the most significant risks and barriers.
The Electricity Sector Regulatory Agency (ARSEL, www.arsel-cm.org) was created by decree No. 99/125 of the 15 June 1998.
Solar energy Some important solar energy resources are available throughout the country. In the most suitable parts, the average solar irradiance is estimated at 5.8 kWh/day/ m2, while the rest of the country commonly sees 4.9kWh/day/ m2 . Solar power is currently used in distributed generation systems, particularly for powering the cellular telecommunications network. However, only approximately 50 PV installations currently exist.Wind energy Other renewable energy resources such as wind energy exist in the north of Cameroon and the littoral region. However, the wind speeds as reported by meteorological services are not sufficient for the development of wind energy projects.Biomass energy Cameroon also has the third largest biomass potential in sub-Saharan Africa, with 25 million hectares of forest covering three-quarters of its territory. However, the unsustainable use of this resource has led to significant deforestation throughout the country, with an annual clearance rate of 200,000 hectares/yr and regeneration of only 3,000 hectares/yr. Primary uses for biomass in the country include heating and light for the majority of the rural population.Utilisation of palm oil for biodiesel is also a viable prospect for the country. At present, around 108,000 hectares of land are affected by oil palm growing. However between 2001 and 2006 a total of 30,000 hectares of forest were cleared to allow for the expansion palm oil crop.Geothermal energyHot springs are found in extensive areas: Ngaoundéré region, Mt Cameroon region and Manengoumba area with Lake Moundou. However this potential not been seriously examined.Hydropower Cameroon has the second largest hydroelectric potential in sub-Saharan Africa. Total potential is estimated at 23 GW, with a production potential of 103 TWh per year. There are three main facilities in the country: EDEA (263 MW); Songloulou (388 MW) and Lagdo (72 MW).The potential for small Hydro Power installations (up to 1 MW) is estimated at 1.115 TWh, mainly in the eastern and western regions of Cameroon, however this potential is yet to be properly exploited.
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