Yemen's electricity consumption primarily relies on fossil fuels, with a substantial amount of 3.93 TWh sourced from fossil and gas in 2021. When compared to the global average electricity consumption of 412 watts per person, Yemen's electricity usage is quite low. This sparse access to electricity could cause hindrances to the country's development, as sparse power accessibility can result in inadequate provision of services such as healthcare, education, and communication, among others. Further, an energy generation strategy that heavily leans towards carbon-emitting energy sources like fossil and gas might not be sustainable in the long-term due to the increasing global call for carbon neutrality and reducing climate change impacts.
Looking at these factors, one can see opportunities for Yemen to expand its low-carbon energy sources, particularly by leveraging its potential for solar power. The country's geographical position could allow it to generate large amounts of solar electricity, thus reducing its reliance on fossil fuels. Yemen could learn from the success story of the People's Republic of China and India, who have managed to generate as much as 522 TWh and 121 TWh respectively from solar energy, despite their large populations and extensive energy needs. By taking cues from these countries, Yemen can potentially develop a robust and sustainable clean energy sector that not only meets its electricity needs but also positions it to contribute to the global fight against climate change.
The journey towards low-carbon electricity in Yemen has been quite recent, with solar energy only making an appearance in its energy mix from 2015 onwards. Before 2015, the country relied entirely on fossil fuels, with no recorded generation of clean energy. In 2015, data shows a modest start with 0.1 TWh of electricity generated by solar energy. This figure, though small, marked an important turn in Yemen's energy landscape. However, growth in the sector didn't manifest until 2018 when solar power generation tripled to 0.3 TWh. Unfortunately, the ensuing years didn't see any increment but maintained a stable output with an additional 0.1 TWh in 2021. While the potential for growth in the low-carbon energy sector is undoubtedly present, concerted efforts are needed to push the growth of solar, and eventually other clean energy sources, in Yemen.