Niger seeks to boost renewable energy projects, but fossil fuels will remain important to the West African nation’s economy as it supports a renewed effort to build a natural gas pipeline to Europe, according to its energy minister.
“The transition might take a bit longer than expected, especially looking at the current events,” Minister Mahamane Sani Mahamadou said in an interview in London on Monday. “Oil and gas will be around for quite some time.”
The global search for new sources of fuel to reduce reliance on Russian energy could bolster potential suppliers in Africa. Many nations on the continent intend to benefit from natural resources including fossil fuels as they increase the use of renewable energy in order to bring electricity to more people.
Niger is aiming for renewables to account for at least 30% of its energy mix by the end of the decade, according to Mahamadou.
Plans to build the Trans-Saharan gas pipeline more than 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles) from Nigeria, through Niger and north into Algeria have been discussed for over a decade. The latest talks were revived even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the countries last month agreed to “revisit” the feasibility study in order to determine the timing and capacity of the line, the minister said.
Niger expects its first wind farm to start operations in 2025 under an agreement signed this week with Savannah Energy Plc. The country plans to boost its overall generation capacity at least five-fold to 2,000 megawatts by the end of the decade and become an electricity exporter in the region through the West African Power Pool project, financed by the World Bank, African Development Bank, European Union and French Development Agency.
Niger has also built about 150 kilometers of an oil pipeline from its Agadem oil field, operated by China National Petroleum Corp., to the port of Seme in Benin, the minister said. The 2,000-kilometer link is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2023.
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