Somalia (2012)

Source: REEEP Policy Database (contributed by SERN for REEEP)

This policy & regulatory overview is not updated anymore since 2015. We decided to keep it online due to high demand but would like to make you aware of the fact that it might be outdated.

Energy sources

Total installed electricity capacity (2008): 65 MW
Thermal : 93.3%
Hydroelectric: 4.4%

Total primary energy supply (2008): 5,352 ktoe
Biomass: 96%
Oil and oil products: 3.98%
Hydroelectric: 0.02%
Somalia has the lowest consumption of modern forms of energy in Sub-Saharan Africa. Somalia has long relied on fuel wood and charcoal, and imported petroleum to meet its energy needs. Firewood and charcoal are the major sources of energy, accounting for the vast majority of the country’s total energy consumption.
There are no large dams in Somalia, with diesel generators being the main source of energy. 
Total electricity generation in 2008 was 326 GWh, with consumption being 293 GWh in the same year. Renewable sources contributed 15 GWh, or 4.4%, to this.
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Without proven oil reserves and only 200 billion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves, Somalia has no hydrocarbon production up to now. Exploration activity is hindered by the internal security situation and the multiple sovereignty issues. Somalia's petroleum consumption was estimated at 5,000 bbl/day in 2010.

The country relies heavily on imported petroleum for production of electricity. The country had one oil refinery, constructed with the aid of Iraq, which ceased operation with the onset of war in 1991.
Oil imports estimated at 3,827 bbl/day (2008).
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Extend network

Somalia is currently divided into three regions; Somaliland, Puntland and South and Central Somalia. The regions have separate electricity networks. In Puntland, electricity is mainly accessible to major towns like Bosaso. 

In South and Central Somalia, 60% of households in Mogadishu and 23% of households in Merka have access to electricity for lighting. 95% of the poorest households in the countrydo not have access to electricity.
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Capacity concerns

Rural and urban energy needs are primarily wood and charcoal based, though there is an increasing use of oil-based energy in urban areas. With a growth in urbanization, combined with the return of the Somali Diaspora, energy demands will increase. The view is that as an imperative for economic growth and nation building, sustainable sources of energy will be needed, combined with more efficient use of existing energy sources. The destruction of electricity infrastructure during the long period of civil conflict, and the ensuing slow pace of rehabilitation of the national electricity grid, has led many in the country to utilise self-generation, mostly from diesel sources.

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Renewable energy

Somalia is rich in energy resources, having unexploited reserves of oil and natural gas, untapped hydropower, extensive geothermal energy resources, many promising wind sites, and abundant sunshine, which can produce solar power. The major obstacles to development of these potentially available energy resources are political, financial and institutional. Traditional biomass fuels such as firewood and charcoal, primarily used in rural and poor communities, account for 82% of the country's total energy consumption. 

Solar energy
Average insolation stands at 5-7 kWh/ m2/day. With over 3,000 hours of high and constant sunlight annually, Somalia is ideally placed to utilise solar energy. Solar resources have been utilised for off-grid generation in the country, as well as for water heating for municipal buildings. Solar cooking has also seen some uptake in the country, and solar power is seen as the energy source of choice for the rehabilitation of many municipal buildings in the country, particularly health centres.
Wind energy
Wind speeds vary from 3-11.4 m/s. Four 50 kW turbines were installed in Mogadishu in 1988, Wind energy has also been utilised for water pumping, with installations made by the UN Trusteeship Administration of Somalia from as early as the 1940s. The country has large areas of shallow sea along its coastline, particularly suitable for off-shore wind power, with the added benefit that this resource is close to a number of major load centres, including Mogadishu and Berbera. Studies estimate that approximately 50% of the land area of the country has suitable wind speeds for power generation and 95% could benefit, and profit, from replacing diesel-powered water pumps with wind systems.
Biomass energy 
In 1985, wooded areas in Somalia were estimated to be about 39 million hectares - roughly 60% of Somalia’s land area. Due to overexploitation these figures have reduced significantly. In 2001, statistics indicate that the forest cover may have been as low as 10%. Solid and liquid biomass options in Somalia still hold a significant potential, however, primarily in the form of crop and animal wastes, and marine biomass. Sustainable charcoal production methods could also be used to great effect in the country, as current charcoal production is causing significant environmental impacts.
Geothermal energy
Available data indicates that the geothermal energy potential is too low to be commercially exploited for power generation.
Potential is estimated at 100-120 MW. As of 1985, this hydropower potential was largely untapped, with only 4.8 MW exploited on the lower Juba valley (pre-war estimates).
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Energy efficiency

Various NGOs and charity groups, including the UN Division for Sustainable Development, have been active in the country promoting energy efficiency, particularly in the form of solar cookers, more efficient biomass stoves, and promoting more efficient charcoal manufacture. A significant proportion of the electricity generated in the country is done so through private diesel generators, often purchased second-hand. Close Energy efficiency


Electricity market
The main electricity supplier, Nugal Electrical Company (NEC, is a public/private company based in Garowe, the capital city of Puntland State in Somalia. NEC generates, transmits and distributes electricity to the immediate area and was formerly known as Nugal Electrical power Agency (NEPA) established in 1971. NEC is the major electric power supply enterprise in Somalia, after the disbanding of the National Electric Company in Mogadishu. Other companies involved in the electricity sector include the vertically-integrated Ente Nazionale Energia Elettrica (ENEE) of Italy, responsible for all energy sector activities in some parts of the country. The Trans-National Industrial Electricity and Gas Company is a recently-formed conglomerate of five companies from the Mogadishu area, created to provide energy security in the region.

Liquid fuels market
The country imports the entirety of its petroleum products. Exploration activities were focused in northern Somalia before the war, and several foreign firms, including Agip, Amoco, Chevron, Conoco and Phillips, held concessions in the area. The firms all declared force majeure following the collapse of the central government. Fuel imports are now often conducted by the same private companies and entrepreneurs operating private generation in the nation’s population centres. Africa Oil Ltd. of Canada and Range Resources Ltd. of Australia have been active in the upstream sector, and the companies plan to drill exploratory wells in the Dharoor Valley and the Nugaal Valley in Puntland.
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Throughout the country, there were about 80 state owned oil-fired thermal and diesel power plants, which relied on petroleum. Now power generation and distribution is decentralized and private sector based. The majority of these private-sector actors are vertically-integrated in their operations.

Electricity is also produced and supplied in parts of some cities with privately owned generators, purchased second-hand from neighbouring Dubai. Providers frequently combine this business with either telecoms provision or importation of fuel, due to the complementarities involved.  The available choices for electricity provision are tailored to customer needs (evenings only, daytime only, or 24 hours). The providers also do not require a meter (a major expense), but charge based on the number of light bulbs in the house.
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Energy framework

Energy Policy of Somaliland
The Somaliland Energy Policy was officially launched on 8 December, 2010, after several years of work from the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) in conjunction with the government of Somaliland. When drafting the policy, the ADRA, in collaboration with the line ministry, trained and built the capacities of stakeholders in the energy sector of Somaliland, in both energy policy development and advocacy. The overall goal of the policy is to meet the energy needs of Somaliland in a cost-effective manner, promoting social and economic development, whilst increasing the use of sustainable energy resources with minimum environmental impacts.

Somalia Energy and Livelihoods Project (SELP)
The ADRA is running an energy and livelihood project that aims to increase access to renewable energy sources and reduce poverty within the states of Puntland and Somaliland in northern Somalia.
The primary goal of SELP, launched in 2007, is to strengthen the livelihood capacities of the targeted population by promoting the use of alternative energy options, such as solar thermal technologies, wind pumps, and energy-efficient cookers. Local administrative structures will be enhanced to install, manage and support alternative energy options, through capacity-building. The Project further hopes to promote private investment by creating a supply-demand driven market around local entrepreneurs, private investors, diaspora and public consumers’ alternative energy technologies. The project will seek to address small scale initiatives, and strengthen the management and governance of the energy sector, through the involvement of state and non-state actors, particularly women’s groups who are vocal in environmental management initiatives.
Sun Fire Cooking is a project involved in developing and producing a certain kind of solar cooker to be sold in Somalia’s villages. Sun Fire Cooking supplies the cookers for no up-front payment and the clients repay the cost via a monthly payment which is the same amount of money usually spent on charcoal. The investment cost is repaid in ten months.
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Energy debates

In May 2010, Somalia's business community committed to investing US$1 billion in electricity and gas industries in the country, over the course of the following five years. The businesses which make up the Trans-National Industrial Electricity and Gas Company, formed in the same year, say that the investment plan will create 100,000 jobs in the country, in all areas of the energy sector. Close Energy debates

Energy studies

A household survey was undertaken between August and November 2006 targeting 200 households in low, medium and high residential areas in urban and peri-urban settlements. Energy consumption patterns were also surveyed, targeting 73 commercial enterprises and service institutions.

Somalia is also a targeted member of the East African Power Pool (, a regional organisation dedicated to integrating the power networks of the East African countries, to improve energy security and the stability of supply in the region.
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Role of government

The Somaliland Government is in the process of creating institutions to coordinate various energy sub-sectors. Currently, there are seven government ministries involved in the energy sector; which largely operate independently and have limited capacity to develop, enforce and monitor the sector. Close Role of government

Government agencies

The Somali Association for Sustainable Energy and Development (SOMASED) is dedicated to providing the government, NGOs, donors and private companies in Somalia with awareness and expertise in the field of sustainable energy and distributed renewable electricity generation systems. Close Government agencies

Energy procedure

Under the Trans-National Industrial Electricity and Gas Company’s investment plans for the energy sector of Somaliland, several phases are planned. The first phase of the project trained youth to supply electricity to economic areas and communities, and began in 2010. The second phase, which was slated to begin in mid-to-late 2011, will see the construction of factories in specially designated economic zones for the fishing, agriculture, livestock and mining industries, in order to promote social and economic development. Close Energy procedure

Energy regulator

The country does not have mechanisms to regulate electricity generation, transmission and distribution. The petroleum sub-sector is also largely unregulated. Close Energy regulator

Regulatory framework

Presently, ADRA Somalia is facilitating an energy policy initiative in Somaliland. The project- Somaliland's Energy Policy Dialogue (SEPD) - was launched in February 2006. The specific objective of the initiative is to facilitate the development of an energy policy and regulatory framework document for Somaliland. Close Regulatory framework

Regulatory roles

As there is no dedicated regulator, energy companies in the country have the responsibility to self-regulate, in so far as possible.

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Energy regulation role

The government has taken a limited role in energy regulation in recent times, primarily due to the extended conflict.

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Regulatory barriers

The energy sector operates in a policy vacuum, with no legal and regulatory framework. The growth of the energy sector from distributed private generation to a formal electricity market would aid development in the sector, as well as economic development in the country, and furthermore  improve social conditions through improved access. Close Regulatory barriers


IRENA (2010): "Renewable energy country profile: Somalia". [Accessed 28 July 2013]

IndexMundi: "Somalia electricity - consumption - energy". [Accessed 28 July 2013]

IndexMundi: "Somalia oil - consumption - energy". [Accessed 28 July 2013]

IndexMundi: "Somalia oil - imports - energy". [Accessed 28 July 2013]

Encyclopedia of Earth: "Somalia". [Accessed 28 July 2013]

British Chamber of Commerce (2008) "Guide to African markets". Available at [Accessed 28 July 2013]

Draft discussion paper for Round Table "Alternative Energy", Istanbul Conference on Somalia, Istanbul, Turkey, 21-23 May 2010. Available at [Accessed 28 July 2013]

USGS 2010 Minerals Yearbook: Somalia. Available at: [Accessed 28 July 2013]

Somalia Energy and Livelihoods Project (SELP): [Accessed 28 July 2013]

ADRA Somalia: "Energy policy officially launched in Somaliland", 15th December 2010. [Accessed 28 July 2013]

Reuters: "Somalia business keen to join forces for peace", 23rd May 2010. [Accessed 28 July 2013]

Eastern Africa Power Pool: "Members". [Accessed 28 July 2013]
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