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Electricity in Sierra Leone in 2021

Global Ranking: #171
90.5% #18 Low-carbon electricity
2.85 watts #211 Generation / person
85.10 gCO2eq/kWh #16 Carbon Intensity

The current state of electricity consumption in Sierra Leone is alarmingly low compared to global averages. In 2021, the average Sierra Leonean has significantly less access to electricity compared to the global per capita electricity consumption standing at 410 watts, which translates to impoverished living conditions and inadequacy in industrial growth. The national reliance on fossil fuel energy is predominantly high due to scarcity of low-carbon energy alternatives. Despite this deficit, attempts to harness low-carbon sources have been close to none, with a near-zero contribution from nuclear power and just a minimal share from hydro, wind, and solar energy. This severe underutilization of low-carbon energy not only limits the nation's ability to combat climate change but also stagnates socio-economic development.


Sierra Leone should draw inspiration from other countries and prioritize the transition to low-carbon energy sources. With Sierra Leone's tropical climate, leveraging solar energy like the People's Republic of China (523 TWh) and India (120 TWh) would be a strategic move. Moreover, considering the abundance of rivers and streams, harnessing hydroelectric power should also be explored. Looking at the success of nuclear energy in countries like the United States (775 TWh) and France (319 TWh), there's evidence to suggest a viable path to substantial low-carbon electricity generation through the nuclear option, strengthening the argument for further exploration of nuclear power in Sierra Leone.


Historically, Sierra Leone has had a consistently low record of low-carbon energy utilization. The pursuit of low-carbon energy solutions was almost non-existent until the turn of the 21st century. This minimal effort turned up in the second decade, with hydroelectricity appearing on the grid by 2010, generating a measly 0.1 TWh. The effort to integrate low-carbon energy sources remained stagnant with minute contributions from biofuels coming into play by 2014. In contrast to this, solar energy was yet to feature until 2017, and even then, its addition to electricity generation was insignificant. Despite the poor level of low-carbon energy implementation, this data highlights Sierra Leone's first steps towards a sustainable energy sector, an effort that must be amplified and supported in the next decades.

Electricity Imports and Exports

Balance of Trade

Data Sources

For the years 1980 to 1999 the data source is EIA.
For the years 2000 to 2021 the data source is Ember.
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