Africa > West Africa > Burkina faso > Burkina faso Energy Profile

Burkina Faso: Burkina faso Energy Profile

2015/08/10

Burkina Faso Burkina Faso – as well known by its short-form name Burkina – is a landlocked country in west Africa. It is surrounded by six nations: Mali to the north, Niger to the east, Benin to the southeast, Togo and Ghana to the south, and Côte d\'Ivoire to the southwest. Its size is 274,200 square kilometres (105,900 sq mi) with an estimated people of additional than 15,757,000.

Formerly called the Republic of Upper Volta, it was renamed on 4 August 1984, by President Thomas Sankara to mean \"the land of upright people\" in Mòoré and Dioula, the major native languages of the country. Figuratively, "Burkina" may be translated, \"men of integrity," from the Mòoré language, and \"Faso\" means \"father\'s home\" in Dioula.

The inhabitants of Burkina Faso are known as Burkinabè. Burkina Faso was populated between 14,000 and 5000 BC by hunter-gatherers in the country\'s northwestern region. Farm settlements appeared between 3600 and 2600 BC. What is presently central Burkina Faso was principally composed of Mossi kingdoms. These Mossi Kingdoms would become a French protectorate in 1896. Next gaining independence from France in 1960, the country underwent a lot of governmental changes until arriving at its current form, a semi-presidential republic.

The president is Blaise Compaoré. Burkina Faso\'s capital is Ouagadougou. It is a member of the African Union, Community of Sahel-Saharan States, La Francophonie, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and Economic Community of West African States.

Energy sources

Total installed electricity capacity (2008):  252 MW

  • Thermal: 87.3%
  • Hydro-electric: 12.7%


Burkina Faso has produced about 619.4 GWh, and imported more than 135.7 GWh in 2008.

Total primary energy supply (2008) : 478.8 ktoe

  • Biomass: 84%
  • Petroleum Products: 10%
  • Hydro-electric: 6%


The majority of the population (about 90%) still relies on wood energy (firewood and charcoal). The limited fossil energy sources available in Burkina Faso do not lend themselves to commercial utilisation. Energy in Burkina Faso is provided by fuelwood as the main source, followed by hydrocarbons, hydroelectricity and renewables (mainly solar).

The constraints on the utilisation of hydropower have led the country to set up thermal power generation plants, with high production costs, to meet a fast growing demand.

Reliance

Burkina Faso is neither an oil producer nor an exporter. Therefore, the country is heavily dependent on imported hydrocarbons from neighbouring countries, particularly the Ivory Coast. for use in electricity production, transport and other industries.

Nowadays, Burkina imports 15% of the electricity consumed. The power capacity from neighbours comes at much lower prices.

Extend network

Only about 18% f the population has access to electricity, about 40% in urban areas and 3% in rural areas.

Capacity concerns

In Burkina Faso, Energy needs are essentially met using solid biomass (fuel wood). The increased use of fuel wood, along with decreases in the volume of rainfall has accelerated deforestation. For the period 1990–2005, the area of forest and other wooded land decreased by 350,000 ha, a tend which is expected to continue.

In recent years, Burkina Faso’s power utility, SONABEL (http://www.sonabel.bf/), has faced system transmission and distribution losses of over 60%, much higher than the internationally accepted norm of 10%. In addition, tariffs barely recover the operating costs of the expensive SONABEL power. The hidden costs of these operational inefficiencies are approximately equivalent to 37% of SONABEL’s revenues. These hidden costs, though lower than the average in low-income African countries, represent a significant burden for the expansion plan of the sector.

Renewable energy

In Burkina Faso, renewable energy concerns mainly the use of the fuel wood. Indeed, at household level in peri-urban and rural areas, biomass is the primary energy source for cooking.  Due to accelerating urbanization in recent decades, services in peri-urban areas are collapsing under the strain of rapid development, resulting in an uncontrolled sanitation and household energy insecurity. However,  the further development of renewable energy technologies is only marginally supported by the government, despite its significant potential.

Solar energy
According to a study by the Research Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology (IRSAT) and the Direction of National Meteorology (DMN), the average potential is high, estimated at 5.5 kWh/m2/day for 3,000 to 3,500 hours per annum. Currently, photovoltaic solar systems are used for refrigeration, water pumping, communication, lighting, video and television.

Wind energy
Due to the western location of Burkina Faso, the potential for wind power is very limited. The average wind speed ranges between 1 and 3 m/s, with the maximum only obtained in the North. However, small-scale generators at suitable sites and for selective purposes (e.g. water pumping, desalination systems etc.) might be feasible.

Biomass energy
In many provinces of Burkina Faso, especially in the Sudano-Sahelian and Sudanian Zone, sufficient biomass resources are available.  The production of biomass resources is particularly substantial in the forest areas of the East, West and Southwest.

Geothermal energy
No study has been conducted as to the geothermal potential of Burkina Faso.

Hydropower
A survey of hydroelectric sites by the Centre National d’Equipement Hydraulique (EDFSONABEL, National Centre of Hydraulic Equipment) examined large and small scale hydroelectric sites. The capacity ranges between 65 and 550 kW with 5 to 15 GWh/year, and 550 to 1,700 kW with at least 5 GWh/year. The study shows that the hydropower potential of rural areas is sufficient for decentralised electricity production. The study identifies some sites where the estimated production cost range between CFAF 100 (US $0.19) and CFAF 175 (US $0.33)  per kWh, and several others with estimated costs of at least CFAF 200 (US $0.38) per kWh. Hydroelectricity utilisation covers about 20% of the national electric consumption (incl. imports from Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire).

Energy efficiency

 

With household energy needs predominantly being met with traditional biomass fuels, the potential for efficiency in the residential sector is high. The construction and sale of energy-efficient stoves for cooking has been successful in reducing biomass demand, a project run by German Technical Assistance (GTZ) and Foyers Améliorés au Burkina Faso (FAFASO). Energy efficiency projects have also been run in the beer brewing sector, financed by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF).

Ownership

Electricity market
Electricity is provided by the national electricity company, Société Nationale Burkinabè d’Electricité (SONABEL, www.sonabel.bf) who have a capacity of 208,685 kVA, of which 83.% is generated from thermal sources and 16.97% from hydropower. Industrial groups also generate 16,823 kVA of their own power, mainly from thermal sources.

Liquid fuels market
The supply of petroleum products is controlled by the Société Nationale Burkinabe d'Hydrocarbures (SONABHY), a state-owned company. The Ministry of Trade supervises SONABHY with regards to import and trade issues, while the Ministry of Finance controls all financial matters. The Burkina Bureau of Mines and Geology is in charge of quality control for retailed petroleum products. The tasks of  SONABHY are:

  • The import, storage, and marketing of petroleum products and gas,
  • The support of research activities for alternative energy resources and energy conservation.
  • Construction of storage to guarantee sufficient distribution.


Biomass market
The biomass sector of Burkina Faso is mainly overseen by the Ministry of Environment, who primarily focus on the sustainable production of firewood and charcoal. The Ministry of Trade regulates the transport of these commodities as well as related tax issues. The Ministry of Energy plans and regulates the firewood and charcoal demand in urban areas of Burkina Faso.

Competition

SONABEL is the main vertically-integrated operator, with a national monopoly on the generation and distribution of electricity in the country's urban centres. SONABEL is a public utility for which the state provides the majority of operating capital. In March 2010, the government announced that the previously-proposed privatisation of SONABEL was to be scrapped, due to the belief within the government that a privately-managed, performance-contracted organisation is more effective than full privatisation.

SONABHY is a state-owned company, with a monopoly in the downstream petroleum sector of the country.

Energy framework

A sector reform was launched with the Energy Sector Development Policy Paper (“Lettre de politique de développement du secteur de l’énergie”) in December 2000. Following this new policy strategy, a first measure had been the opening of the national power and hydrocarbon companies (SONABEL and SONABHY) to private participation (law no. 15-2001/AN).

The next steps occurred in 2004-2005 with the 060/98/AN law revision project, which
promoted further institutional changes :

  • The Power sector would be split in two segments: the first one consists of centres already exploited by SONABEL, and the rest is the responsibility of the rural electrification fund (“Fond de Développement de l’Electrification” – FDE).
  • SONABEL would become a concessionaire and has the sole responsibility of exploiting and maintaining the existing infrastructure, while the ownership is
    transferred to a dedicated entity.
  • Funding and supervising of rural electrification would be led by the FDE through concessions to natural persons or legal entities.
  • A regulation entity would also be created


While the FDE was created in February 2003 (in collaboration with Danish cooperation) and has been effectively operational since November 2004, the regulator and the infrastructure management entity are not yet operational.

Up to now, there are no policies or strategic directions for the utilisation of renewable energy. However, a guiding principle for PV was outlined in a program to supply basic energy services. Adopted in 2007, the Strategy for Rural Electrification supports solar energy for the electrification of rural areas currently lacking connection to the SONABEL grid.

Currently, a national strategy for the regulation of wood fuel trade is being elaborated by the government. Furthermore, in December 2000, the government of Burkina Faso began to elaborate energy and poverty alleviation policies with the following objectives:

  • Development of the energy administration (capacity and policy formulation);
  • Enhancement of efficient energy supply  (electricity, hydrocarbons, wood fuel, renewable energies);
  • Socio- economic development, and;
  • The alleviation of poverty.


The Government’s Ministère de l’Environnement et du Cadre de Vie is also trying to promote energy-efficient butane stoves to slow deforestation and reduce pollution from wood fuel, but progress is difficult. In order to meet the future demand for energy, the government launched some actions, including:

  • An Electricity and Infrastructure Strengthening and Rural Electrification Project to rehabilitate and extend the national energy generation and energy grid. While this project will increase accessibility, measures to improve the efficiency of the system need to be implemented in order to decrease dependency on neighbouring countries’ power sources.
  • Additional adaptation options for the energy sector include ‘green’ stoves and other alternative energy equipment, such as water heaters and solar dryers.
  • Declaration on the use of solar energy

In Ouagadougou in October 2009, there was a commitment to promote the development of a national solar central plant. This initiative merits further attention.

  • Regional Programme for the Promotion of Household and Alternative Energies in the Sahel, (PREDAS)

A regional programme, partly funded by the European Community, to promote household and alternative energies in nine Sahel countries, including Burkina Faso. This programme has carried out a comparative study of the energy taxation systems in the nine countries and proposed recommendations to the countries.

Energy debates

With regard to the electricity sector, the country is currently confronted with two challenges:

  • The need to ensure a substantial increase in the country’s power supply to meet a fast-growing demand and;
  • The need to extend power supply to several urban and rural localities while improving the reliability and quality of the overall service.

Energy studies

Burkina Faso is a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is working towards greater regional cooperation in energy. ECOWAS has approved an Energy Protocol that outlines principles for cross-border energy trade and investment. As part of the West African Power Pool (WAPP), Burkina Faso is also looking to benefit from proposed inter-connections between member states.

In recent years, there has been a systematic effort by the Burkinabè authorities to increase power trade with neighbours in the regional West African Power Pool (WAPP). Investment has been carried out to integrate the national power system into a unified regional electricity market by building interconnections with Côte d’Ivoire, the Bobo-Dioblasso-Ouagadougou which is planned to be functional by 2014, and with Ghana, expected to commence in 2011.

Role of government

The sector is managed by the Ministry of Energy in close cooperation with the ministries of trade, finance and environment. The Ministry has administrative control over SONABEL, which has the monopoly on electrification of the country's urban centres.

The Ministry of Energy fulfils its mission via:

  • The Direction Générale de l’Energie (Electricity Management Department).
  • The Fonds de Développement de l’Electrification (planning and finance programmes for rural electrification).
  • The Direction des études et de la Planification (Studies and Planning Department).
  • The Organe de Régulation du Sous-secteur de l’Electricité, the Electricity Regulator; an independent body, yet to be created, which will ensure fair competition between generators and protect consumers.
  • The Commission de régulation des prix de l'électricité (Electricity Price Regulating Commission).
  • The Conseil national de gestion de l’énergie (National Energy Advisory Council): an organisation for consultation and coordination between stakeholders, policy  makers and electrification planners.

Government agencies

Agencies active in the field of sustainable energy in the country include:

  • Local authorities competent in the area of local planning, concession contracting and/or supplying electricity.
  • Independent Power Producers (EDENE, GG-Y, BERCODE) which, under concession agreements, can perform studies, manage energy supply systems and support cooperatives, municipalities and users in the implementation of their projects. The private sector, after the eventual privatisation of SONABEL, may also become involved in the transport and distribution of energy.
  • Technical development partners assisting the state, municipalities, and the private and associative sector in the implementation of national strategies and policies for energy supply throughout the national territory. Partners include the European Union (MEPRED project), UEMOA, ECOWAS, the World Bank (ESDP), and the Danish Cooperation Agency, (DANIDA).
     

Energy procedure

The regional policy supporting access to energy services for rural areas known as the Regional White Paper, was adopted January 2006 by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of States. The regional policy aims to contribute to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and to reduce poverty.

Energy regulator

The sector is directly regulated by the government through the Minister of Energy.

Degree of independence

The Ministry of Energy is a direct subsidiary of the Burkinabé government, with the Minister being directly appointed by the President, and funding being acquired from the national budget.

Regulatory framework

In November 2007, the Parliament adopted law No 027/AN1 in order to regulate the general electrical energy supply of Burkina Faso. This law is to enhance the qualitative and quantitative security of energy supply. It also aims at the reduction of the overall electricity costs by liberalising the production and distribution of electricity within Burkina Faso, as the electricity sector is currently dominated by the monopolist SONABEL.

Regulatory roles

The Ministry of Trade is responsible for setting electricity tariffs in the country. The Ministry is supported by independent authorities who issue supporting regulations for the price-setting process. The Ministry of Energy is responsible for the general control of the electricity sector, as well as planning for its development.

Energy regulation role

In the overall reorganisation of the electricity sector, several authorities are involved:

  • The Ministry of Energy.
  • The Ministry of Trade (responsible for the fixation of the electricity price).
  • Independent control authorities for electricity price fixation and consumer protection.
  • Authorities issuing regulations to support the overall price setting process
  • Authorities providing fund management for the development of rural electrification.
     

Regulatory barriers

The main challenge to developing wide-spread use of energy from renewable sources such as solar is the high costs of the technology and import tax. Another challenge is  the lack of availability of assessments/studies on the potentials and impacts of such an investment on the environment, economy and society both at the national and sub-national levels.

Institutional and legislative challenges, as well as obstructions by some multinational oil companies, are acting as a limiting factor to solar energy development and market penetration.  They also hinder the development of local, low energy water boilers, with potential for job creation and promoting use of nonfossil, non-wood energy. 

Overview data for Burkina Faso

Petroleum (Thousand Barrels per Day)
Previous Year
Latest Year
   
History
Burkina Faso
Africa
World
Rank
    
Burkina Faso
Total Oil Production

(1980-2012)
0.00 9,369 87,483 127   0.00
Crude Oil Production

(1980-2012)
0.00 8,572 74,141 93   0.00
Consumption

(1980-2012)
12.00 3,297 88,662 115   10.07 E
Estimated Petroleum Net Exports

(1980-2012)
-12.00 6,072 -- 101   -10.07
Refinery Capacity

(1980-2012)
0 3,220 88,097 110   0
Proved Reserves(Billion Barrels)

(1980-2013)
0.00 124 1,526 91   0.00
Natural Gas (Billion Cubic Feet)
Previous Year
Latest Year
   
History
Burkina Faso
Africa
World
Rank
 
Burkina Faso
Production

(1980-2011)
0.00 7,373 111,954 89   0.00
Consumption

(1980-2011)
0.00 3,558 113,321 109   0.00
Net Export/Imports(-)

(1990-2011)
0.00 3,813 -- 64   0.00
Proved Reserves
(Trillion Cubic Feet)

(1980-2013)
0.00 546 6,845 94   0.00
Coal (Million Short Tons)
Previous Year
Latest Year
   
History
Burkina Faso
Africa
World
Rank
 
Burkina Faso
Production

(1980-2011)
0.000 286 7,934 66   0.000
Consumption

(1980-2011)
0.000 223 7,751 113   0.000
Net Export/Imports(-)

(1980-2011)
0.000 64 -- 85   0.000
Electricity (Billion Kilowatthours)
Previous Year
Latest Year
   
History
Burkina Faso
Africa
World
Rank
 
Burkina Faso
Net Generation

(1980-2010)
0.66 594 19,083 160   0.67
Net Consumption

(1980-2010)
0.76 530 17,360 157   0.77
Installed Capacity (GWe)

(1980-2010)
0.25 130 4,843 154   0.25
Total Primary Energy (Quadrillion Btu)
Previous Year
Latest Year
   
History
Burkina Faso
Africa
World
Rank
 
Burkina Faso
Production

(1980-2010)
.001 36 487 157   0.001
Consumption

(1980-2010)
0.026 16 488 157   0.026
Energy Intensity
(Btu per 2005 U.S. Dollars)

(1980-2010)
1,166 5,405 7,461 188   1,096
Carbon Dioxide Emissions (Million Metric Tons of CO₂)
Previous Year
Latest Year
   
History
Burkina Faso
Africa
World
Rank
 
Burkina Faso
Total from Consumption of Fossil Fuels

(1980-2011)
1.73 1,155 31,502 153   1.45

-- = Not applicable; NA = Not available; E = Estimate value
Sources: EIA. For more detailed data, see International Energy Statistics.

Data last updated: May 30, 2013