Central African Republic: Energy Resources
|Name||Central African Republic|
|Energy Consumption||0.01 Quadrillion Btu|
|2-letter ISO code||CF|
|3-letter ISO code||CAF|
|Numeric ISO code||140|
|UN Region||Middle Africa|
|Energy Maps||0 view|
|Energy Organizations||0 view|
|Research Institutions||0 view|
|CIA World Factbook, Appendix D|
|Wind Potential||0||Area(km²) Class 3-7 Wind at 50m||94||1990||NREL|
|Coal Reserves||3.31||Million Short Tons||72||2008||EIA|
|Natural Gas Reserves||0||Cubic Meters (cu m)||193||2010||CIA World Factbook|
|Oil Reserves||0||Barrels (bbl)||192||2010||CIA World Factbook|
Energy Maps featuring Central African Republic
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Policy and Regulatory Overview 
Regarding the sub-sector electricity, supply is unable to meet demand. In 2010, the rate of access of the population to electricity was 4% at national level, 15% in Bangui, 1% in secondary centres and near 0.0% in the rural environment, home to most of the country’s poorest populations. The country’s grid system is as follows:High voltage grid: 110 kV - 84 km;Medium voltage grid: 15 kV - 290 km; and,Low voltage grid: 220 V - 433 km.There is an interconnection with the Democratic Republic of Congo, to convey power produced at the Mobaye hydro-electric dam.
Rural electrification in the Central African Republic is still in its infancy. That is why, in 2004, the Central-African government adopted a national energy policy framework favouring renewable energies, with a view to reducing poverty over the 2005-2015 period. The ACER is also promoting independent power production from the private sector, to compliment the rural electrification strategy.In light of the current energy deficit, a three-phase strategy was adopted: modernizing Boali 1 and Boali 2 hydroelectric stations and distribution grid; increasing production by using the Boali 3 and extending Boali 2; and restructuring the sector and improving management of ENERCA.Modernisation of Boali 1 and 2 and the distribution grid began in 2008 with €4.2 million from the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD), which will be supplemented by US$8 million from the World Bank. Boali 2 and Boali 3 could also be extended as part of the regional project for production, and interconnection with the DRC, scheduled for 2009, and financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB).In 2011, the AfDB, in collaboration with the African Development Fund, produced a Regional Integration Strategy Paper for Central Africa, including the Republic. Specific objectives for the Republic under the strategy include the strengthening of institutional capacity and economic governance, and the strengthening of the economic regional integration infrastructure, including electrical inter-connection.
Plans have been proposed to utilise the country's vast agricultural potential for the production of biofuels. With one of the lowest population densities globally, the potential for widespread biofuel feedstock production has been suggested as a possible poverty-alleviation mechanism.China and the AfDB have also pledged donor support for the enlargement of the Boali 3 station, which was last forecast to begin in the second quarter of 2011, following signing of the co-operation agreement in February.
Total installed electricity capacity (2008): 46 MWTotal primary energy supply (2008): 1064.2 ktoeBiomass: 91%Oil and oil products: 8%Hydro-electric: 1%Historically, wood has been the main fuel to provide heating. The current energy mix consists of hydro-electric and thermal. Some diesel power and solar photovoltaic panels are also used. Renewables contributed 54.3%, or 25 MW, to the installed generation capacity in 2008. The majority of biomass consumption is produced indigenously. Total electricity generation in 2008 was 162.0 GWh, with a per-capita consumption of 37 kWhAt present there are three hydro-electric plants in operation: Boali 1 (8.75 MW), Boali 2 (10 MW) and Gamboula (0.2 MW). Their total capacity is nearly 19 MW and average annual production is 130 GWh. Boali 3 (10 MW) has recently been commissioned, in addition to a 6 MW thermal power station at Bangui, the capital.
The sale price for electricity is determined in an order issued by the Minister responsible for energy; the scale applied dates from 8 February 2006. ENERCA is responsible for ensuring its own levels of operational standards, until ARSEC assumes a more controlling role in the sector.
Since independence, with the exception of private generation and independent production, electricity service provision has been run by the vertically-integrated ENERCA, which produces, distributes and markets electricity throughout the country. Since the services supplied by this state-owned company were poor in quality, the government, after liberalising the sector in edict 05.001 of 1st January 2005 and introducing an Electricity Code to the Republic, undertook the restructuring of the company. However, currently ENERCA still holds an effective monopoly on power activities in the country.Total-Centrafrique and TRADEX have exclusive distribution rights until 2011. Afterwards, other approved operators will be able to distribute petroleum products and have access to the SOGAL's structures. The latter also has exclusive rights that ended in 2011.
The potential for energy efficiency in the electricity sector is quite high, with distribution and technical losses having a severe impact on electricity service in the country. Improved generation and distribution infrastructure, as well as more rigorous billing regulations, would improve this. Distribution infrastructure in much of the country relies on aging, bare-wire lines, which are often a target for electrical and physical theft, due to the high copper content of the systems, and the ease of illicit connection. Commercial sector energy efficiency is directly affected by the lack of effective power transmission in the country, with firms often being forced to operate their own, often expensive and inefficient, diesel generators to guarantee a reliable power supply. Efficiency in power generation is also being promoted in the country through the involvement of WEG Industries, through generation equipment leasing.
The Bangui interconnected power system is small. There are two hydropower facilities (Boali 1 and 2) with a current generation capacity of 15 MW; this capacity is not reliable because of the lack of maintenance, and there are frequent power failures. In addition, there is currently 2 MW of diesel power in Bangui (though the utility has limited ability to pay for fuel). Peak demand in 2008 was estimated at 27 MW, but given estimated system losses in 2009 of 48%, there is a large gap between supply and demand. System losses are approximately 15% technical losses and 33% non-technical losses (i.e. theft and inaccurate billing). There has been a breakdown of the two hydropower plants (Boali 1 and Boali 2) which supply power to Bangui and surrounding areas. In addition, ENERCA, the state-owned utility, has financial problems due mainly to the low collection rates of bills. Historical rates of cost recovery have been consistently around the 75% mark. An increasing proportion of people in provincial towns and businesses (e.g. mining, agro-industries, logging and planters), are using diesel or petrol powered generators to produce their own electricity. In 2008, diesel prices were approximately US$ 1.44 per litre. Unit capacity ranges from 2 to 650 kVA, and their total output is at least the same order of magnitude as the capacity of ENERCA's. Private generators also include solar and hydro-electric micro power stations. Obtaining a power connection costs up to 52 times the average yearly income in the country.
No government agency is currently operating in the sustainable energy sector in the country. An NGO, Research on Innovative and Appropriate Technology for Sustainable Development (RETNAD), is active in promoting the sustainable use of biomass resources.Decree No. 273 of 11th September 2005 established the Autonomous Agency for Rural Electrification (ACER), which is responsible for the development of rural electrification in the country. Objectives of the Agency include a 15% rural electrification rate by 2015, and to achieve this, approximately 35 small hydro-electric sites have been identified for development.
Electricity marketThe electricity sub-sector in the Central African Republic is not highly developed because of the large size of the country and its low population density, the effects of a decade of socio-political unrest on the network infrastructure, and the poor performance of the state-owned company Énergie Centrafricaine (ENERCA), responsible for the sub-sector. Only 4% of the population had access to electricity in 2010. Supply (18.75 MW) is lower than demand (24 MW) in Bangui, the capital; hence load shedding and outages are frequent. Country-wide load shedding has increased from 8 hours to roughly 13.5 hours per day in 2010. ENERCA's production is mainly from hydroelectric sources, because thermal generation is little used owing to the high cost of fuel. In the provinces, ENERCA generates electricity from thermal sources; secondary plants are supplied with electricity for four to five hours a day.The town of Mobaye (608 kilometres from Bangui) is the only one to have regular electricity supplies because it imports electricity generated by a plant in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo. Under the CEMAC CET, such imports are subject to customs duty of 10% as well as VAT at 19%.Liquid fuels and gas marketUpstream oil and gas activities in the country have been limited to exploratory projects, and the country does not currently produce oil or gas. Activities downstream of the petroleum sub-sector (import, storage, transport, distribution and marketing) were privatised in 1999, and the state-owned company Centrafricaine des pétroles, (PETROCA, Central African Petroleum Company) was liquidated. Service stations are supplied by Total-Centrafrique and Trading d'exportation de pétrole brut et de produits pétroliers (TRADEX,), while the Société de gestion des actifs logistiques (SOGAL) is responsible for storage.
Degree of independence
ARSEC is financed through the government budget, and through a separate charge levied on the sale of electricity. The Agency is required to make its operations and finances transparent under the current IMF Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative.
The Central African Republic is member of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC). Through the Brazzaville Declaration (2005), the country is committed to integrate energy access as a focal area in poverty reduction strategies, and participate in the development of a Regional Action Plan to Promote Access to Energy in Central Africa.ENERCA also represents the Republic in the Central African Power Pool (CAPP), which was initially created in 2003 to organise and manage an integrated Central African power network. Upcoming CAPP projects involving the Republic include two cross-border electrification projects with the DRC.
The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper 2008-2010 (PRSP) sets as a main objective the improvement of the national energy infrastructure, in order to ensure that power provision can be carried out, as well as guaranteeing the improvement of the population’s economic life.According to the PRSP, major short and medium-term emergency measures will be implemented so that:(i) population groups in urban and rural areas can access quality energy services at a lower cost, and(ii) resources are managed in a sustainable fashion via public–private partnership initiatives.To this end, initiatives will be taken, and even boosted in the following areas:(i) reforms will be continued in the electricity and hydrocarbon sub-sectors,(ii) ENERCA will be restructured,(iii) an energy information system will be created and made operational,(iv) the electricity production, transport and distribution capacity of the interconnected (Boali-Bangui) network will be increased,(v) power transfer at a sub-regional and regional level will be promoted,(vi) the electrification of rural areas will be promoted,(vii) micro hydro-electric dams will be constructed,(viii) the regulation capacity of the hydrocarbons markets will be developed,(ix) the decentralisation and reinforcement of storage capacities and the diversification of supply channels will occur, and(x) reductions will be made in the country’s energy dependence.In addition, the government is planning to build a dam on the Kotto at Kembé to produce electricity to supply the uranium and gold mining sites.Currently, Governmental energy policy is focused on three key objectives; upgrading the Boali 1 and 2 hydropower stations and their associated distribution network, up-rating Boali 2 and 3 with the addition of new equipment, and optimising the running of ENERCA to improve economic performance.
The Central African Republic does not currently produce either petroleum or natural gas. The country's petroleum needs are met through imports; in the absence of any domestic refining capacity, only refined products are imported. The vast majority of the population still depend on traditional biomass use for the majority of their energy needs. Energy self-sufficiency for the country stood at approximately 91% in 2008 because of this. Total oil imports in 2009, including refined products, were 2,418 bbl/day.
Role of the government
ENERCA’s general manager reports to the Ministry of Mining, Energy and Hydraulics. Since January 2005, there has been a new Electricity Law, which enables private sector participation in the sector. There is also a newly appointed electricity sector regulator, the ARSEC.
According to the new Electricity Code approved in 2005, the production, transport, import, export, distribution and sale of electricity are open to competition; nevertheless, approval by the Ministry, following a technical opinion by the ARSEC is required for this purpose. Approved producers may supply their customers through the ENERCA network, or may set up their own networks.
The lack of a regulatory framework to support the implementation of sustainable energy projects is a barrier to increasing market penetration. Increasing the operational role of ARSEC in regulation of the electricity sector would lead to fairer market conditions. Further development of the energy sector could be achieved in part through the introduction of a clear legal and regulatory framework for private sector participation, grid extension and sector management.
In terms of restructuring the sector, the following agencies are now operational:(i) The Central African Rural Electrification Agency (ACER);(ii) The Central African Electricity Regulation Agency (ARSEC);(iii) The Central African Oil Products Storage Company (SOCASP); and(iv) The Oil Product Price Stabilization and Regulation Agency (ASRP).
Solar energySolar energy is also a viable option, with average horizontal irradiation reaching 6.0 kWh/m2/day in some regions. Global irradiance in the country ranges from 2,000 to 2,400 kWh/ m2. Owing to its high cost, this technology could be reserved for specific applications, such as pumping for general water supply or for powering telecommunication systems as well as for low-energy applications, such as low-consumption lamps, radios and televisions, telephone recharging and small computing equipment.Wind energyThe potential for wind energy is present, with some sites having average wind speeds in excess of 5 m/s. However, wind power use is still largely unexplored in the country.Biomass energyTraditional biomass use for heating and lighting is still prevalent. According to studies, the biomass intensity of the Central African Republic is currently sustainable. No studies have been conducted as to possible non-traditional biomass use in the country. Over 50% of the country is covered with some form of forest, of which approximately 10% is currently being used as an energy resource.Geothermal energyNo study has currently been undertaken to determine the geothermal potential of the Republic.HydropowerThe role of renewable energy technologies is most likely to progress with the electrification of the main towns in the country by the exploitation of hydropower. Currently the Mbali River, a tributary of the Oubangui in the Boali region north-east of Bangui, is considered to have impressive hydro-electric potential. This region is the main centre for hydropower production in the country. Some areas that are considered priorities for small or micro hydro development include: Bocaranga, Paoua, Baboua, Bossangoa, Ndélé, Sibut, Bangassou, Bria, Kembe, Bambari, Bouar, Carnot, Berbérati, Kaga- Bandoro and Mbaîki (ENERCA, 2009). Major potential large-hydropower developments include the 300 MW Palambo project, 65 km North of Bangui, initially proposed as part of a wider project to improve water flow into Lake Chad. However, the necessary investment for this project is approximately US$ 450 million, and hence further project development has been slow since the initial proposal.
- Central African Republic-Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) in the Congo Basin
- Central African Republic-National Adaptation Plan Global Support Programme (NAP-GSP)
- Forest Carbon Partnership Facility
- CARPE-IUCN Small Grants Program
- Central African Regional Program for the Environment (CARPE)
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