to the rapid growth in the population of The Gambia
in recent years, demand for energy has far outstripped
the ability of the State owned utility to supply the
country. The gross energy consumption of the Gambia
in 1998 was just over 308,000 tones of oil equivalent
TOE which represents 0.28 TOE on a per capita basis.
The net energy demand for the Gambia in 1998 was estimated
at 287,100 TOE, which is supplied from firewood (225,500
TOE), petroleum products (61,600 TOE) and electricity
(6,300 TOE)2. The two biggest energy consumers are households
and the transport sector.
major energy resources in Gambia are firewood, electricity,
petroleum imports, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). The
government has established Gambia Renewable Energy Center
(GREC) and seeks to collaborate with interested companies,
individuals, development charities, research entities
for the development of renewable energy through R &
• Liquid Petroleum
The Gambias annual consumption of LPG was estimated
at 1,350 tons for the period, 1996 to 1999, while the
estimate for year 2,000 was approximately 2,000 metric
tons. The share of household consumption, in total imports,
is estimated at 85%, the remaining 15% represents consumption
by the hotel industry.
provision of reliable electricity to The Gambia has
become a priority for the Government and there are investment
opportunities at all levels. Generating capacity is
substantially below demand, the distribution system,
while adequate for existing generating levels will need
investment and particularly with the development of
industry and tourism up-country, opportunities will
arise there also.
most commonly used energy resource in the Gambia is
firewood. The burning of fuel-wood for cooking &
other uses accounts for over 80% of total energy consumption
in Gambia ranging from 228 thousand TOE to 375 thousand
TOE from 1990 to 2004 fuel wood. According to the 2004
Energy Balance, in The Gambia, 485,000 tons of firewood
is used annually to meet the energy needs of 90% of
the population, 60% of total fuel-wood used is consumed
by the rural population for cooking.
Firewood has the largest share of both the national
energy and the household energy balances. Its source
is the forest and by virtue of this relation, its administration
as a produce of forest resource falls under the purview
of the DOSFNRE as the line department of state responsible
for forestry affairs. The Forestry Department is the
technical organ responsible for technical advice as
well as operational, administrative and managerial aspects
Commercial Trade: - The Forestry Act has provision for
the regulation of the movement of forest produce. It
requires producers and sellers of fuel-wood to be in
possession of valid licences issued by a competent regulatory
authority. In addition, every transport load must be
accompanied by a valid receipt and a removal permit.
The Act also requires a producer to employ not more
than three assistants to a licence holder; only dead
trees are allowed to be cut; and the truck loads and
the number of licences to be issued per division, are
regulated. The Fuelwood Vendors Association (FVA) was
registered in 1996 as a charitable organisation. It
has a loose structure and has a membership of about
3,000, comprising persons involved in the traditional
Gambia's geographical location gives it plenty of sunlight
hours. The country receives 2,500 hours of sunshine
yearly and the daily solar energy potential is an average
2.5 kJ per square centimetre area (2.5KJ/cm2). The government
is encouraging use of alternative energy and the use
of solar PV cells and associated equipment is on the
rise be it for domestic, commercial or industrial use.
use of alternative and renewable energy in the country
is gaining recognition, especially the use of solar
PV. This interest comprises both individuals and groups.
However, the deterring factor in the widespread utilization
of renewables is the initial cost of investment, which
is beyond the reach of many Gambians. Most solar PV
and wind installations are donor funded. The cost of
the systems is tied to foreign exchange fluctuation.
A 55 Wp solar PV costs about D11,000 while a 75 Wp costs
about D16,000. Whenever the Gambian Dalasi depreciates,
the cost of systems will increase correspondingly.
The following companies are operating in solar energy
sub-sector include Gam Solar, VM The Gambia Limited,
SWEGAM, Dabakh Malick Energy Centre DMEC, Gambia Electrical
Company, CHYBON Solar Systems, and SANFOSI Solar, Consultancy
and Engineering Services.
Over the years, a lot of systems have been installed
for applications such as water pumping, telecommunications,
refrigeration, and community lighting under various
projects including the CILSS Regional Solar Programme
(RSP) funded by the European Development Fund (EDF).
The companies also provide PV systems, imported from
abroad, for domestic lighting.
Limited numbers of other renewable energy devices, such
as wind pumps and solar heaters, were imported in the
past and tested, locally, but only to a limited extent.
Some 20 wind water pumping systems have been erected
and installed in various parts of the country but recent
information indicates that most of them are not operational
due to some faulty mechanism.
There is some interest in wind electricity generation
along the coast line by a private concern KEMPET International.
utilisation of biomass is also on the rise though it
tends to be limited to agricultural by-products such
as wood shavings, peanut shells and straw.
An Italian firm Electronic Solar has shown interest
to the Energy Department to generate 10 MW of electricity
using municipal solid waste (msw) and miscanthus grass.
This interest has been expressed through the Consul
General of The Gambia in Italy.
• Wind Energy
speed in the country varies according to season and
location in the country. The wind regimes are stronger
during the dry Harmattan season throughout the country
than during the rainy season. The average wind speeds
countrywide is 2.5 metres p/s, which is too low to productive
adequate electricity. However, this may not be true
if such turbines are placed on the cliff edge, very
close to the beach.
Use of windpower for water pumps is also welcomed and
is increasingly seen in the countryside helping rural
communities to pump up water from the local water table.
One can be seen as you leave Ghana Town on the way to
|Programmes, projects and policy pronouncements
implemented in the past by the Gambia Government
||A Presidential Decree which banned the production of
charcoal in 1980. The Government was
concerned about the alarming rate of deforestation;
||Introduction of improved cooking stoves in 1982
to reduce firewood consumption;
||Promotion of Butane gas as a substitute to
firewood under CILSS/EDF Regional Butane Gas Programme in 1992;
|| Groundnut shell briquette production,
1982. This involved the manufacturing of briquettes
in the Gambia from groundnut shell in bulk quantities
to serve as an alternative to charcoal;
||Establishment of the Gambia Renewable Energy
Centre (GREC) to serve as a research, development and promotion
centre for renewable energy technologies in 1985. This followed
the oil shocks and droughts in the mid and late 1970s
||Introduction of a biogas program. This program
attempted to introduce appropriate Renewable Energy
technologies to the Gambian population to be able
to extract gas from animal waste for their energy
||Plantations project started in 1950 by the
Forestry Department to create more planted forests to serve as
supplement to the already existing natural forests as a source
of sustainable wood for fuel, furniture and construction building materials.
||Transfer of the power station to Kotu in 1980
to cater for the growing demand for electricity;
||Shift from light fuel to heavy fuel oil in the
mid 1980s as a means to make electricity cost affordable;
||Construction of a bulk storage facility and sea
terminal for LPG at Bonto so as to be able to procure LPG at
international market price to make it an affordable substitute
||Fiscal policy on the pump price of imported
fuels so as to encourage efficient utilization of the product;
||Move the fuel depot outside the limits of the
city of Banjul for health & safety, security, and to address environmental