renewable city
Mauritania could boost economic development should it increase its renewable power technologies. Pic credit: radio timisoara

Last week, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), released a report indicating that Mauritania can grow its economy through developing its renewable energy resources.

According to the Mauritania Renewables Readiness Assessment, the transition would be facilitated by the current electricity network of mini-grids, IRENA said in a statement.

Clean power technologies

The report added that the development of clean power projects would be comprised mainly of solar and wind technologies, which could be strengthened by cooperation with both the Maghreb region and West Africa, IRENA said in a statement.

By facilitating the growth of the renewable sector, Mauritania could become a net exporter of renewable power to nearby countries.

IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin said: “Mauritania has already taken steps towards the large-scale use of renewable energy both for on-grid and off-grid applications.

“Now, with renewable energy sources cost-competitive with oil-generated electricity in most regions in the country, Mauritania has an opening to rethink its energy strategy, and build a framework integrating technical solutions and business models based on renewable energy.”

Expanding electricity access

The Agency reported that the country has almost doubled household electricity access since 2000 however, “access to energy services remains limited in Mauritania due to various geographic and economic factors, including widely-spread large urban population centres and significant rural populations distributed throughout the country.”

IRENA’s Renewables Readiness Assessments provide a holistic assessment of conditions for renewable energy deployment in a particular country. They also provide guidelines for the actions necessary to improve these conditions.

IRENA said in a statement: “The Mauritania RRA provides the foundation for a concrete and actionable strategy while recommending the country undertake a number of measures to support large-scale deployment of renewable energy including:”

  • Developing a national policy on renewable energy
  • Updating the electricity code and its associated implementing decrees
  • Creating the institutional and regulatory framework to facilitate deployment of renewables
  • Promoting capacity building and research
  • Developing a financial framework

According to IRENA, more than 20 countries in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific Islands have undertaken the RRA process with IRENA since 2011, to drive the deployment of renewable power technologies locally.