In 2021, the average electricity generation per person in Sierra Leone stood at a mere 2.85 watts, well below the global average of 412 watts per person. Of this total, the vast majority came from low-carbon energy sources, with 2.58 watts per person produced from hydropower and solar combined. More specifically, hydroelectric power contributed to most of the clean energy supply, providing 2.44 watts per person, while solar power added a minor boost of around 0.14 watts per person. The remainder, a fractional 0.27 watts per person, came from fossil energy sources. Compared with the global scenario, the energy consumption per capita in Sierra Leone is incredibly low. Such low levels of electricity generation commonly result in inadequate access to electricity, hindering the quality of life and economic development. Interestingly, Sierra Leone does not import or export electricity from or to other countries, meaning that its entire energy supply is domestically sourced.
Looking at best practices from around the world, Sierra Leone can harness opportunities to drastically increase its low-carbon electricity generation. Given its geographical conditions, similar to Australia and Chile, the nation could significantly invest in and expand its solar energy capacity. Australia and Chile generate 147 and 85 watts per person respectively from solar energy, a blueprint Sierra Leone could follow. At the same time, investments in wind energy can be inspired by countries like Denmark and Sweden, which lead the world with 369 and 363 watts per person respectively generated from wind energy. Furthermore, given the significant output of nuclear energy in countries like France and Sweden, a safe and efficient implementation of nuclear power could be considered for future development in Sierra Leone. However, such initiatives require careful planning, substantial investment, and thorough safety and environmental considerations.
Over the past couple of decades, Sierra Leone's journey in low-carbon electricity production has seen some progress, albeit slow and steady. Until 2010, there was no significant variation in hydroelectric power, which stood at 0 TWh annually. However, the year 2010 marked a minor yet important improvement with an increase of 0.1 TWh in hydroelectric power generation. The years following 2010 didn't see any further increase in low-carbon electricity generation from hydro sources, but the country started to explore diversified sources of clean energy. Around 2014, Sierra Leone began generating electricity from biofuels, although the growth remained stagnant over the next few years. Later in 2017, the nation began its journey into utilizing solar power, a promising step towards the diversification of its clean energy portfolio.