In 2021, the total electricity consumption in Benin was a mere 7.73 watts per person, far below the global average of 412 watts per person. Of this amount, fossil energy took the lion's share at 2.02 watts per person, while low-carbon energy contributed almost none – just 0.09 watts per person, generated entirely from solar energy. This significant deficit in electricity generation, especially of low-carbon electricity, not only hampers the country's development and modernization efforts but also contributes to ongoing environmental problems. Furthermore, it's worth noting that Benin relies heavily on net imports of electricity, making up more than two-thirds of its overall consumption – a staggering 72.7%.
It's crucial that Benin turns its attention to enhancing its low-carbon electricity generation. The African country can draw lessons from several nations that have succeeded in this regard. For instance, Denmark and Sweden have extensively harnessed wind power and presently generate 369 and 363 watts per person, respectively. Exemplary as well is Uruguay, a country with a climate and economy similar to Benin's, which generates around 160 watts per person from wind energy. Nuclear energy, being an extremely efficient and low-carbon source, should also be considered. Countries like France, Belgium and South Korea owe a significant portion of their electricity to nuclear power, generating over 370 watts per person. Adapting these strategies, along with increasing investments in research and infrastructural development, can surely foster low-carbon electricity generation in Benin.
Unfortunately, the history of low-carbon electricity in Benin has been relatively stagnant. There has been no significant change in hydroelectricity generation since record-keeping commenced in 1997, and the picture remains the same in the following decade. Toward the late 2000s, we begin to see the introduction of biofuels, but their contribution to electricity generation remains negligible. Solar energy makes its appearance in recent years around 2015, but like hydro and biofuels, its contribution to the national grid is close to none. This consistent lack of growth and diversification in low-carbon electricity sources in Benin throughout the decades underlines the pressing need for changes and improvements in the present energy policies.