As of 2021, electricity consumption in Lesotho is far below the global average of 410 watts per person. Currently, nearly all electricity is generated from a single source, which is low-carbon hydro power. Though this ensures that Lesotho’s electricity is largely free from the carbon emissions associated with fossil fuel energy sources, the quantity generated is insufficient for the nation’s needs. The country’s low electricity production levels may hamper economic development, limit access to basic services, and constrain improvements in living standards. The situation in Lesotho starkly contrasts with the global trend of increasingly diversified energy mixes.
There are multiple ways in which Lesotho can elevate its low-carbon electricity generation. It could turn to successful countries in the low-carbon energy sector for inspiration. For instance, Brazil and South Africa have significantly expanded their wind and solar power sectors respectively. Given Lesotho's similar geographical and climatic conditions to these countries, exploring the potential of wind and solar energy could be beneficial. Moreover, the experiences of India and China show the possible benefits of embracing a range of low-carbon electricity sources, including wind, solar, and nuclear. This diversified approach reduces dependence on a single source, thereby enhancing energy security.
Lesotho's history of low-carbon electricity has been somewhat lackluster. The period from 2000 to 2010 featured minor increments in hydroelectric power generation, with a slight increase in 2005 and 2006 followed by several years of stagnation. However, 2011 marked a turning point as a decrease in hydroelectric power generation, representing the first contraction in the sector. Since then, there has been no noticeable recovery or growth, signaling a stagnation in Lesotho's low-carbon electricity sector. Evidently, for Lesotho, there is a pressing need to diversify and expand its sources of low-carbon electricity to rectify this trend.