As of 2021, São Tomé & Príncipe's electricity consumption is largely reliant on fossil fuels, with a low level of low-carbon energy generation. The most commonly used form of low-carbon energy here has been hydroelectricity, but it accounts for close to none of the total electricity production. The nation clearly falls behind the global individual consumption average of 410 watts per person, suggesting lower levels of economic activity and likely impacting the country's socio-economic development. This consumption pattern places São Tomé & Príncipe at a disadvantage in terms of adopting cleaner and more efficient energy options, propelling climate change, and causing health issues due to pollution from burning fossil fuels.
To increase their low-carbon electricity generation, São Tomé & Príncipe can take inspiration from other nations successfully producing large amounts of electricity from low-carbon sources. Given the island's tropical climate and abundant sunlight, solar power can be a significant source of clean energy, similar to nations like Brazil and Australia that generate 50 TWh and 41 TWh respectively from this source. Brazil, also like São Tomé & Príncipe, is located close to the equator, making it an ideal reference model for the harnessing of solar energy. For wind energy, countries such as Germany and the United Kingdom lead with 142 TWh and 79 TWh respectively; although São Tomé & Príncipe's size and wind conditions might not support such large production, there is potential for small-scale wind farm projects. Regarding nuclear energy, smaller countries like Belgium and Finland produce 31 TWh and 33 TWh respectively, showing it's not solely the realm of large countries; however, nuclear power requires significant initial investment and expertise, which may present challenges for São Tomé & Príncipe.
The history of low-carbon electricity in São Tomé & Príncipe has unfortunately been stagnant. The only form of low-carbon energy generation documented is hydroelectricity, showing no increase in production since recording began in 2002. Over nearly two decades, the hydroelectric output has remained at 0 TWh per year, demonstrating neglect or a lack of resources and infrastructure to capitalize on this clean energy source. A stagnant growth pattern over two decades emphasizes the need for a revision of the country's energy strategies, and an urgent shift towards diversifying its low-carbon energy framework by incorporating solar, wind, and potentially nuclear sources of power.