Africa > East Africa > Eritrea > Eritrea Energy Profile

Eritrea: Eritrea Energy Profile

2015/03/10

Eritrea, officially the National of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast.

The northeast and east of the country has an extensive coastline on the Red Sea, due across from Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The Dahlak Archipelago and several of the Hanish Islands are part of Eritrea. Eritrea\'s size is approximately 117,600 km (45,406 sq mi) with an estimated people of 6 million.

Energy sources

Total installed electricity capacity (2008): 168 MW

  • Conventional Thermal: 98.93%
  • Solar, tide and wave: 0.6%
  • Wind: 0.48%


Total primary energy supply (2009): 726 ktoe

  • Biofuels & waste: 77.4%
  • Oil: 22.6%


Domestic generation comes mainly from two oil-fired plants that produced 267 GWh in 2006.  An extra 2 GWh came from solar energy.  Total consumption was 220 GWh, with distribution losses of 37 GWh (13.75%).  Eritrea’s annual electricity consumption per capita is 67 kWh. The major source of energy for lighting is kerosene, which is burnt through wick lamps.

Reliance

There are no indigenous sources of oil, natural gas, coal and hydropower. Oil imports and consumption are 5,000 barrels per day (bpd). In 2005, oil imports accounted for 35% of the total national energy supply. The only oil refinery was located at the Red Sea port of Assab. It had a capacity of 18,000 bpd. In 1997, it was closed because of high operating and maintenance costs. As a result, all refined products, inclunding jet fuel and gasoline, are imported.

Extend network

Approximately 32% of the national people have access to electricity, but only 3% in rural areas.

The Eritrean Electricity Corporation (EEC) runs two types of grid systems, the Inter-Connected System (ICS) around the Asmara-Massawa regions; and the Self-Contained System (SCS) around Assab and other areas, such as Adi Keih, Barentu, Agordat and Tessenei. Total peak capacity of the two systems is 119 MW, of which 10 MW is in the SCS.  The ICS is currently over-capacity with the commissioning of the Hirgigo 88 MW plant in 2002, along with the Belesa Power Plant. The Belesa plant runs at low efficiency, due to aged generating equipment, A lack of maintenance, and high voltage drops in the distribution system.

Capacity concerns

Eritrea is facing acute shortages of modern energy services, particularly in rural areas, and the country is generally characterised by low energy consumption levels. In order to facilitate the economic development of Eritrea, further development of the electricity sector is necessary.

The use of biomass for cooking, using generally inefficient appliances such as the mogogo, has led to unsustainable energy supplies, particularly the traditional biomass, and is contributing to carbon emissions. Deforestation is resulting from overuse of biomass for fuel. Without alternatives, the pressure on Eritrea’s limited forest resources would increase.

The over-reliance on imported fossil fuels does not only divert scarce financial resources from other socio-developmental areas, but further contributes to environmental emissions and energy related health problems.

Renewable energy

Solar energy
Eritrea has a very high potential for solar energy, with an average insolation of 5.0-6.5 kWh/m2/day. Possible uses include solar PV, water heaters and sterilisers, crop dryers and tobacco curing, desalination, cooling and refrigeration, and electricity generation. Solar is currently primarily utilised for electricity in public buildings such as schools and hospitals.

Wind energy
A recent World Environment Facility (GEF) sponsored feasibility study for wind energy on the southern coast shows that a 2.4 MW wind park in Assab and a lot of off-grid stand-alone wind systems, wind-diesel or wind-solar hybrid systems are feasible and potentially economic. Wind pumps for irrigation, or for watering villages and their livestock have a high potential in the vast majority of Eritrea.

Biomass energy
There are a lot of indications of potential for modern biomass energy usage in certain locations in Eritrea:

  • The Alighider Farm Estate has the potential to supply raw materials (cotton and sorghum stalks, elephant grass, banana leaves etc.) for briquette production for at least 15 plants, each with a capacity of 4000 tons per year. Briquettes are a replacement for fuel wood and charcoal.  Agricultural waste could generate electricity thermally,
  • Biogas plants could be installed in the Elabered Agro-industry, and other smaller dairy farms.
  • Biogas could be generated from cactus trees.
  • Energy recovery from municipal solid and liquid wastes is possible.
  • Energy crops, such as Salicornia (being developed by SeaWater Farms, a biofuels company), could generate electricity for local uses or for the central grid.


Geothermal energy
The majority favourable location for geothermal energy in Eritrea is the Alid volcanic area, about 120 km south of Massawa, identified by the United Nations Development Programme in 1973. Further investigations were conducted in 1996, which identified at least 11 geothermal areas in the area. Additional exploration is required to prove the capacity of the resource, and the Eritrean Ministry of Mines is seeking funding for this purpose. If successful, a 5 MW pilot geothermal power plant has been proposed.

Hydropower
Three potential hydropower sites have been studied (Ad Dankers, 1997), which include Tekeze river (~ 23000 GWh per year), Anseba river (~120 GWh per year), and Setit river (~ 240 GWh per year). Other potential sites for micro and mini hydropower have from presently on to be studied.

Energy efficiency

The 3-stone fire, a traditional method of stove construction, predominantly used in Eritrea for cooking, needs to be abandoned as any minute at this time as possible because of its low energy efficiency (EE), circa 10%. Instead, energy efficient biomass stoves should be introduced for the household sector, particularly in rural areas where the dependency on biomass will remain for a lot of years. Further, EE cooking practices need to be stimulated, for example the pre-soaking of grains, the use of lidded receptacles, and using solar energy for pre-heating. An development in energy efficiency as well needs to be worked on for other cooking stoves, such as those using kerosene, LPG, or electricity. Appropriate attention must be given to disseminating EE stoves in order to ensure that what has been developed is as well going to be put to use. Significant entrepreneurial potential exists in this regard.

A great potential exists to improve EE in all industries, but particularly in the majority energy-intensive ones – steel, glass, ceramic and cement.

Ownership

Electricity market
The Eritrea Electric Corporation (EEC) is a public utility that operates two systems, namely the the Inter-Connected System (ICS) which covers 89% of its business and the Self-Contained System (SCS), accounting for the 11%.  The total generating capacity is over 155 MW, of which the EEC accounts for around 134 MW, with the remainder from either public institutions like the Assan Port Government, small municipalities in remote towns, or entrepreneurs with smaller generators.

Liquid fuels market
Offshore oil exploration has taken place, but no commercial deposits have been discovered. Companies which have explored for oil are ENI (Italy), Anadarko Petroleum (US), Perenco (France) and CMS Oil and Gas (US). In October 2008, the government signed 2 agreements with the Defba Oil Share Company (a joint Chinese-Eritrean venture to explore for oil. Exxon Mobil, Shell and Total are involved in the marketing and distribution of petroleum products in the country.

The Petroleum Company of Eritrea (PCE) is a public company, responsible for the wholesale of petroleum products in the country.

Competition

The Eritrean Electricity Corporation (EEC) is a vertically-integrated company, responsible for the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity.

In May 2004, the government made the initial steps in reforming the power sector.  Electricity Proclamation No. 141/2004 has the objective of promoting efficiency, safety, environmental protection and private sector involvement.  Proclamation No. 142/2004 for the Establishment of the Eritrea Electric Corporation has the purpose of commercialising the utility to give it additional autonomy in its operations and to contribute to the development of Eritrea by providing efficient, dependable, cost-effective and environmentally safe production, transmission and distribution of electricity.

The oil market is primarily unbundled, with private firms involved in upstream and downstream activities in the country. The PCE is national-owned, and operates solely as a wholesaler.

Energy framework

To demonstrate its commitment to promoting sustainable energy, the Ministry of Energy and Mines, in consultation with the Ministry of National Development, has targeted energy development initiatives in its long-term program, up to 2015. They see it  as a vehicle to improve poverty alleviation, education, water and environment sustainability, with particular attention to the development of alternative energy resources as a primary objective. Emphasis is not only on the adequacy and affordability of energy, but as well on qualitative aspects, inclunding flexibility, efficiency, sustainability and usage convenience. The issues of social equity, quality of service, energy conservation, environmental protection and safety are critical. So is the issue of ensuring energy security, as the country is heavily dependent on imported fuels. These goals imply major investment in additional capacity in power generation, development in energy efficiency and in sector management. 

The policy will be implemented in eight priority areas:
1. Energy reform measures,
2. Investment promotion,
3. Development of sector management capacity,
4. Creation of a “right pricing” policy,
5. Promotion of energy conservation and environmental protection at supply and end-user levels,
6. Promotion of rural electrification,
7. Promotion of regional co-operation in energy trade,
8. Involvement in modern energy technology developments.

The current short and medium-term energy sector investment program consists of investments in refurbishing and expanding generating plants, in expanding the Rural Electrification Programme, and supporting green field investments in renewable energy, inclunding wind, solar and geothermal power applications.

Energy debates

The government strategy to increase electricity generation includes renewable energy resources in the form of wind and solar systems, with the ultimate aim of generating as much as 50% of the country’s grid electricity from wind energy.  Similarly, photovoltaic (PV) generation is being considered.  Solar energy accounted for only 0.7% of the EEC\\\'s total production in 2006, despite Eritrea’s very high potential.

Rural electrification requires further investment .  The government’s restructuring of the EEC, and the development of a new energy policy, is aimed at attracting private sector participation.  To this end, international and regional independent power producers (IPPs) and independent power distributors (IPDs) are being sought as investors in the projects.

Energy studies

Eritrea is a member of the Common Market of East and Southern African States (COMESA), an organisation dedicated to promoting better regional integration between member states, in an effort to stimulate the economies of all nations involved. The country is as well a member of the African Union.

Analysis of Long-Range Clean Energy investment Scenarios for Eritrea, East Africa – Robert Van Buskirk, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, US. Available here:
www.osti.gov/bridge/servlets/purl/886977-mP99Bh

Role of government

Within the Ministry of Energy and Mines (www.moem.gov.er), the Department of Energy (DoE) is entrusted with the task of designing and refining policies, strategies and regulatory issues in the energy sector, approving the corresponding plans and programs formulated in the sector, and supervising their implementation.  The Department of Energy has three divisions:

  • Energy Resource Management,
  • Energy Resource Development, and
  • The Renewable Energy Centre

 
In addition to the above there are two autonomous enterprises within the department; The Eritrea Electric Corporation (EEC) and the Petroleum Corporation of Eritrea (PCE) are governed by a board of directors, chaired by the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

Government agencies

Renewable Energy Centre (REC)
REC (formerly ERTC) was set up in 1995 to research and develop different renewable energy technologies (RETs).  Up to presently, its role has been fundamental in the dissemination of data regarding RETs and their implementation throughout the country.  For example, the ERTC coordinated the Eritrea Dissemination of Improved Stoves Program (DISP) to develop and disseminate an improved version of the mogogo stove.  The DISP was initiated in 1996, with the initial field-test taking place in 1999.  The Eritrean stove programme has grown rapidly. By March 2010, REC had installed 105,000 improved stoves (an increase of 95,000 from 2003), benefiting over 700,000 people in 3,600 villages. The total carbon saving per year from all stoves installed to date is about 305,000 tonnes/year CO2. REC is working to develop carbon finance contracts to enable additional stoves to be supplied.

REC is as well developing other cooking equipment, such as a additional fuel efficient charcoal fired coffee stove, and a fish cooking stove for use in the coastal strip area, inclunding  starting work with other renewable energy technologies.

Energy procedure

Wind Energy Application in Eritrea (2007-2011)

Being funded by the GEF, the UNDP and the government, this project aims to produce pilot projects in the wind rich areas (Assab, Edi, Gahro, Gizgiza, Rahaita, Berasole, Beylul and Dekamhare) and replicate the project in other parts of the country. The project is expected to improve rural livelihoods by providing access to sustainable energy services and contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The three immediate objectives are:

(1) To develop necessary personnel and institutional capacities to plan, install, operate and manage on- and off-grid wind systems, and increase awareness amongst decision makers in governmental and private institutions, both at the community and central level;

(2) To install a small wind farm in Assab and integrate the wind-generated electricity into an existing conventional electricity grid, thus demonstrating that on-grid wind energy is feasible, and can be a cost effective electricity supply possibility in Eritrea at high wind speed sites;

(3) To install eight small scale decentralised wind stand-alone and wind-diesel hybrid systems to demonstrate the viability of off-grid wind energy systems.

Eritrea Power Distribution and Rural Electrification Project (2004-2010)
The World Bank funded the Eritrea Power Distribution and Rural Electrification Project at a cost of $57.2 million. This project was approved in 2004 and was extended until June 2010. The key components included rehabilitation and expansion of the electricity distribution system in Asmara, Eritrea’s capital; rural electrification in four areas, and a program for power sector reform and the institutional capacity.  In 2008, the World Bank approved additional financing for the project at a cost of US$17.5 million.

The major energy sector development policies the Eritrean government have been aiming at:

  • Promoting economically and environmentally sound energy sector development through appropriate technology for energy production, conservation and usage optimisation;
  • Appropriate energy pricing structures that avoids all forms of subsidy;
  • Diversifying sources of energy to minimise the dependence on dwindling biomass energy resources and imported oil, promoting  private capital participation in hydrocarbon exploration, and developing renewable energy resources potential;
  • Modernising and expanding the country\\\'s power generation and distribution system, and enabling private participation in energy development and the market;
  • Developing capacity through training and establishment of the necessary institutional and legal framework in order to entirely manage the sector.

Energy regulator

The Electricity Regulatory Commission (ERC) established by the Electricity Proclamation No.141/2004, is not from presently on fully functional, though Ministry of Energy and Mines personnel are occasionally assigned to carry out regulatory tasks.

Degree of independence

According to the Electricity Proclamation No.141/2004, the Regulatory Committee shall have a chair-person, who, along with the other members shall be appointed by the President of the National of Eritrea.  Two of whom shall be from the private sector.  Funding for the organisation comes from governmental allocations, and operational levies.

Regulatory framework

The current regulatory framework promotes efficient, dependable, safe and economically sustainable electricity operations in Eritrea, inclunding private sector and community participation in the sector.
Therefore, current policy gives independent power providers the option of generating power using a variety of sources inclunding wind, solar, geothermal, or other national-of-the-art conventional energy technologies.  Importation or exportation of electricity leading to regional integration of power supply is subject to government approval; the distribution of power to rural communities is a priority.

Regulatory roles

  • To promote efficiency, dependability, cost-effectiveness, safety and quality of services and equitable competition, inclunding private and community participation in electricity operations;
  • Supervise and ensure that electricity operations (the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity) are carried out in accordance with the corresponding regulations;
  • To study, review and determine electricity tariffs and related service charges;
  • The initiation and performance of investigations into standards of quality of services, and to monitor standards of in general performance of permit holders;
  • To protect the interests of customers, permit holders and the general public;
  • To investigate complaints;
  • To instruct parties in writing to adhere to and fulfil their obligations under this Proclamation within a reasonable time.

Energy regulation role

As the ERC is still a relatively young organisation and from presently on to be fully established, the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MOEM) has an occasional role in regulating the electricity sector. No other government department takes an active role in energy regulation, as the MOEM is as well responsible for the natural resources of the country, inclunding all energy resources.

Regulatory barriers

Barriers’ pertaining to the lack of experience with wind energy increases the transaction costs for the initial development of wind energy systems. These include:

  • The lack of experience inside the Eritrean private sector with regards to the private business opportunities wind park projects offer;
  • A lack of adequate model contracts, on the basis of which private developers and the EEC can negotiate Power Purchasing Agreements (PPAs) and other necessary contracts for such kind of projects,

 
Other issues inclunding :

  •  The lack of procedures and responsibilities for the development and implementation of rural renewable energy projects.

 

Overview data for Eritrea

 

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

(1994-2012)
0.00 9,369 87,483 127   0.00
Crude Oil Production  

(1994-2012)
0.00 8,572 74,141 93   0.00
Consumption  

(1994-2012)
3.00 3,297 88,662 128   4.67 E
Estimated Petroleum Net Exports  

(1994-2012)
-3.00 6,072 -- 121   -4.67
Refinery Capacity  

(1994-2012)
15 3,220 88,097 104   15
Proved Reserves(Billion Barrels)  

(1994-2013)
0.00 124 1,526 91   0.00
Natural Gas (Billion Cubic Feet)
Previous Year
Latest Year
   
History
Eritrea
Africa
World
Rank
 
Eritrea
Production  

(1994-2011)
0.00 7,373 111,954 89   0.00
Consumption  

(1994-2011)
0.00 3,558 113,321 109   0.00
Net Export/Imports(-)  

(1994-2011)
0.00 3,813 -- 64   0.00
Proved Reserves
(Trillion Cubic Feet)
 

(1994-2013)
0.00 546 6,845 94   0.00
Coal (Million Short Tons)
Previous Year
Latest Year
   
History
Eritrea
Africa
World
Rank
 
Eritrea
Production

(1994-2011)
0.000 286 7,934 66   0.000
Consumption  

(1994-2011)
0.000 223 7,751 113   0.000
Net Export/Imports(-)  

(1994-2011)
0.000 64 -- 85   0.000
Electricity (Billion Kilowatthours)
Previous Year
Latest Year
   
History
Eritrea
Africa
World
Rank
 
Eritrea
Net Generation  

(1994-2010)
0.28 594 19,083 176   0.29
Net Consumption  

(1994-2010)
0.24 530 17,360 182   0.25
Installed Capacity (GWe)  

(1993-2010)
0.14 130 4,843 166   0.14
Total Primary Energy (Quadrillion Btu)
Previous Year
Latest Year
   
History
Eritrea
Africa
World
Rank
 
Eritrea
Production  

(1994-2011)
.000 37 509 174   0.000
Consumption  

(1994-2011)
0.007 16 511 185   0.006
Energy Intensity
(Btu per 2005 U.S. Dollars)
 

(1994-2011)
1,747 5,279 7,452 177   1,504
Carbon Dioxide Emissions (Million Metric Tons of CO₂)
Previous Year
Latest Year
   
History
Eritrea
Africa
World
Rank
 
Eritrea
Total from Consumption of Fossil Fuels  

(1994-2011)
0.51 1,155 31,502 183   0.63

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

Data last updated: May 30, 2013

  •  The lack of financing mechanisms which take into account the appropriate features of renewable energy technologies.