In Niger, the current state of electricity consumption for the year 2021 is significantly lower when compared to the global average of 412 watts per person. Total electricity consumption per person in Niger is just over 7 watts, of which almost 2 watts is generated from fossil energy, while low-carbon energy generation accounts for barely 0.23 watts per person. In comparison to the global scenario, where more than half the electricity consumption is from low-carbon sources, Niger seems to be reliant almost entirely on fossil fuels. Also notable is the absence of a robust contribution from solar energy, which stands at a nominal 0.23 watts per person. The low level of electricity generation directly impacts the socio-economic development of the nation, as the energy scarcity affects everything from basic amenities to advanced technologies. Additionally, almost 72% of electricity consumption comes from net imports, adding financial burdens and energy dependence to the host of issues Niger faces.
For Niger to increase its low-carbon electricity generation, it could take several lessons from countries that have successfully implemented low-carbon energy strategies. Notably, many countries - even those with varying climates and economic statuses - have effectively utilized nuclear, wind, and solar energy. Countries like Sweden, France, and Finland demonstrate the potential of nuclear energy, generating above 500 watts per person. Niger, with its vast desert landscapes, could also harness the potential of solar energy, much like Australia, which generates 147 watts per person from solar. Additionally, wind energy, as used by Denmark and Sweden—with generation at 369 and 363 watts per person respectively—could also be a plausible path. Of course, associated geographical, financial, technological, and infrastructural factors would need careful consideration.
The trajectory of low-carbon electricity in Niger, more specifically solar energy, has remained stagnant from 2005 to 2021. Despite the country's geographical potential for solar energy, there has been no growth recorded. Each year of this period shows zero change in solar electricity generation compared to the previous year, an indication of untapped potential and missed opportunities for transitioning towards a cleaner, greener energy footprint. This lack of progress also underlines the absence of necessary investments and policy measures to stimulate the growth of solar energy sector. This stands in stark contrast to the many countries committing to ambitious renewable energy targets and deploying significant resources to achieve them. Therefore, a more proactive approach towards harnessing its solar energy potential could help Niger increase its low-carbon electricity generation.