Cameroon’s energy balance shows a clear predominance of renewable energy (RE) sources particularity biomass. Despite the clear progress made with commercial forms of energy between 1990 and 2002, biomass is still the predominant fuel source (78,6% in 2003), with cooking and other residential uses accounting for 73%.

ENERGY SOURCES

Total installed electricity capacity (2010) : 1448 MW (including 476 MW from auto-producers). As of 2011, 70 to 80 percent of Cameroon’s power is derived from hydropower source, with the remainder from conventional thermal.

  • Total primary energy supply (2009): 6,918 Ktoe.
  • Biofuels & wasted : 64,1 %
  • Oil: 27.2 %
  • Natural Gas: 3.7 %
  • Hydro-electric: 5.0 %

Reliance

Although Cameroon is an oil producing country, the proportion of imported petroleum products in national consumption increased considerably between 1990 and 2000, with imports rising beyond the 56 percent mark in 2000, before dropping again in 2003. Petroleum imports, which constitute the entirety of the country’s energy imports, totaled 2,356 ktoe in 2007.


Extend network

Access to power has steadily improved in Cameroon. National access to electricity increased from 37% in 1986 to 46% IN 2002, and to 48% in 2007, above the average for Africa’s resource-rich countries. Estimates of urban access suggest that between 65% and 88% of the urban population has access to electricity. At 88%, access to power in urban areas is greater than in most low, middle-, and resource-rich countries in Africa. But these positive trends do not extend to rural areas: only about 14% of rural dwellers benefit from access to electricity, half the level incomparable countries. Electricity supply is unevenly distributed owing to the discontinuity of the national grid, which prevents the transfer of power among the three separate grids: the Northern Interconnected Grid (NIG), the Eastern Isolated Grid (EIG) and the Southern Interconnected Grid (SIG).


Capacity concerns

The key constraints facing the electricity sector relate to the narrow geographic space and relative obsolescence of the transmission and distribution networks. Consequently, there is significant unmet solvent demand. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that the country’s three main transmission grids are completely isolated from one another and no exchange of available surpluses can be made between the grids. Together with the Government, the Bank and other sector donors are all considering the best technical solution for interconnecting the three grids.


Renewable energy

Solar energy

Some important solar energy resources are available throughout the country. In the most suitable parts, the average solar irradiance is estimated at 5.8 kwh/day/m2, while the rest of the country commonly sees 4,9 kwh/day/m2, Solar power is currently used in distributed generation systems, particularly for powering the cellular telecommunications network, However, only approximately 50 PV installations currently exist.

Wind energy

Other renewable energy such as wind energy exist in the north of Cameroon and the Littoral region, However, the wind speeds as reported by meteorological services are not sufficient for the development of wind energy projects.

Biomass energy

Cameroon also has the third largest biomass potential in sub-Saharan Africa, with 25 million hectares of forest covering three-quarters of its territory. However, the unsustainable use of this resource has led to significant deforestation throughout the country, with an annual clearance rate of 200,000 hectares/year and regeneration of only 3,000 hectares/year. Primary uses for biomass in the country include heating and light for the majority of the rural population. Utilisation of palm oil for biodiesel is also a viable prospect for the country. At present, around 108,000 hectares of land are affected by oil palm growing. However between 2001 and 2006 a total of 30,000 hectares of forest were cleared to allow for the expansion palm oil crop.

Geothermal energy

Hot springs are found in extensive area: Ngaoundéré region, Mt. Cameroon region and Manengoumba area with Lake Moundou. However this potential seriously examined.

Hydropower

Cameroon has the largest hydroelectric potential in Sub-Saharan Africa. Total potential is estimated at 23 GW, with a production potential of 103 Twh per year. There are three main facilities in the country: EDEA (263 MW); Songloulou (388 MW) and Lagdo (72 MW).

The potential for small Hydro Power installations (up to 1 MW) is estimated at 1.115 Twh, mainly in the Eastern and Western region of Cameroon, however this potential is yet to be properly exploited.


Energy efficiency

The residential sector in the country contributes most to primary energy demand, totaling some 71%, including 95% of the nation’s biomass consumption. Primary energy consumption per capita stands at 0.23 toe. Energy efficiency is not represented heavily in the national energy policy, and energy prices have been increasing steadily without efficiency improvements in infrastructure

Government agencies

The Electricity Development Corporation (EDC)

The Electricity Development Corporation (EDC) was created in November 2006. The organization is responsible for:

  • Management of public assets in the electricity sector, on behalf of the state.
  • Studying, preparing or executing any infrastructure projects in the electricity sector that are entrusted by the State;
  • Participating in the promotion and development of public en private investment in the electricity sector.

The Rural Electrification Agency (AER)

The AER promotes electricity by providing operators and user with the technical, and possibly financial assistance required for development of renewable. The Agency acts as a rural electrification consultancy for the State and, as such, develops community management mechanisms for renewable, and organizes the rural populations benefiting from electrical installations.

Within the Ministry of Energy and Water, the Cellule de la maîtrise de l’Energie, has carried out a few tentative actions to promote renewable energy.

Energy procedure

To tackle power cuts, and seasonal load shedding a national electricity development programme has been established, this consist maintly of the construction of large hydroelectric projects. These include the Memve’ele Hydroelectric Dam (200 MW) to be built on the river Ntem in the Sothern region, and the Lom Pangar (170 MW) water reserve in the Eastern region.

Other minor hydroelectric projects have been proposed such as the Natchtigal dam to reinforce energy supply to the Aluminium Smelting company (ALUCAM) in Edea. Cameroon hopes to triple electricity output to 3,000 MW by 2020 through a series of hydro and thermal generation projects.

  • Cameroon-Energy Sector Development Project (2008-2013)

Funded by the World Bank at a cost US$ 65 million, the project aims to increase access to modern energy services in targeted rural areas, and improve the planning and management of sector resources by all energy sector institutions. The project is expected to contribute to improved reliability of electricity supply.

Increased access to and reliability of electricity are key factors in the realization of the government’s growth and poverty reduction strategy.

  • The Clean Development Machanism (CDM) & Carbon Finance for Sustainable Energy in Africa (CF-SEA).

Financed by the United Nations Foundation and the World Bank, and implemented under the supervision of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Carbon Finance for Sustainable Energy in Africa (CF-SEA) programme assists a number of clean Development Machanism (CDM) projects in Cameroon while promoting clean energy technologies, Cameroon currently has about 60 MW of CDM projects under development, with estimated emissions reductions of about 2 millions tones of CO2 equivalent until the end of the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period.

At present, 70% to 80% of Cameroon’s power is derived from hydropower sources, with the remainder from conventional thermal, Cameroon’s first independent power producing agreement (IPP) will add 216 MW in power generation and trigger the development of Cameroon’s gas reserves, as yet unexploited. Also, Cameroon will further increase its generation capacity when the new Lom Pangar plant becomes fully operational.

Energy regulator

The Electricity Sector Regulatory Agency (ARSEL, www.arsel-cm.org) was created by decree N° 99/125 of the 15 June 1998.

Degree of independence

Five out of nine ARSEL board members are appointed by the government, one is a consumer representative. There is some possible overlap with other regulatory agencies (for example, the Electricity Administration, AER and the Cameroonian Competition Commission).

Financing for the institution comes from a very on the industry for service and donor/tender funds.

Regulatory framework

Instead of specific legislations to promote renewable energy in general or specific clean technologies, there is rather a general legislation concerning the electricity sector. In its title IV, chapter I, the law n° 98/022 of 24 December 998 governing the electricity sector, ARSEL and REA are in charge of the promotion and to follow-up of the use of the primary sources of energy, in particular renewable sources.

Regulatory roles

ARSEL is tasked with monitoring and regulating the electricity sector. Its principal missions are to:

  • Monitor the sector’s activity
  • Monitor the sector’s financial equilibrium and approve tariffs,
  • Examine concession licence applications,
  • Authorise electricity generating and distribution in rural areas,
  • Project consumers, and
  • Promote competition and facilitate private sector involvement in the sector.

Energy regulation role

The AER is responsible for formulating policy and recommendations for rural electrification for the Ministry of Energy,, as well as producing management schemes for rural communities in relation to electricity access.

Regulatory barriers

The institutional environment of Cameroon does not encourage private investment. Insufficient investment regulations and a lack of standards and quality control mechanism makes it almost impossible to collaborate with traditional financial institutes.

It is therefore very difficult to establish a national market for renewable energy. Unreliable infrastructure, insufficient distribution networks, anticompetitive commercial framework as well as administrative bottlenecks and financial insecurity are the most significant risks and barriers.

Cameroon is endowed with varying sources of energy .The table below gives a synopsis of energy types, potential and level of exploitation in Cameroon.


ENERGY TYPEPOTENTIAL/ CAPACITYLEVEL OF EXPLOITATION
SOLAR ENERGY5.8 Kwh/day/m2Very timidly used energy source but its use has been increasing over the years.
WIND ENERGYExist in very limited amount in the North of CameroonInsufficient potential for adequate exploitation
Biomass EnergyThird largest potential in  sub-Saharan AfricaMostly used by rural inhabitants for lighting and heating.
Geothermal EnergyEnormous potential found in Ngaoundere, Mount Cameroon region and the Mandara 
HYDRO ELECCTRICITY POWER103Twh/yearThree major dams account for Cameroons energy i.e. Lagdo 72Mw, Songloulou 384 Mw and Edea 267 Mw. Many HEP projects are underway to attain to attain 3000 Mw come 2020.

In Cameroon there exist many actors in the energy sector, both in the private and public sector. The table below shows the various actors and their various functions:

ACTORSRESPONSIBILITIES/FUNCTIONS
MINISTRY OF WATER AND ENERGYIncharge of overseeing the implementation of national energy policy in Cameroon.
ENERGY MANAGEMENT UNITIncharge of carrying out studies on renewable energy.
NATIONAL ELECTRICITY REGULATORY AGENCY (ARSEL)Monitoring and regulating the electricity sector;Monitor the sector’s activityMonitor financial equilibrium and approve tariffsExamine concession license applicationAuthorize electricity generation and distribution in rural areas
Protect consumers and promote  competition and facilitate private sector involvement in the sector
RURAL ELECTRIFICATION AGENCY(REA)Incharge of the production and follow up of electricity in the rural milieu especially renewable sources of energy.
AES SONELIncharge of production, transportation and distribution of electricity.

RESTRUCTURING PROJECTS IN THE ENERGY SECTOR OF CAMEROON.

The following are some major Restructuring projects in Cameroon and the expected energy they are to generate:

Memve’leHEP Plant to produce 201 MW
Lom-PaangarHEP Plant to produce about 30MW
Mgbazoumbe6-12 MW aimed at supplying the East with energy exporting opportunites
Kribi Gas Plant216-330 MW upon completion.