Mali Energy Situation
12.6500° N, 8.0000° W
Total Area (km²): It includes a country's total area, including areas under inland bodies of water and some coastal waterways.
Population: It is based on the de facto definition of population, which counts all residents regardless of legal status or citizenship--except for refugees not permanently settled in the country of asylum, who are generally considered part of the population of their country of origin.
Rural Population (% of total population): It refers to people living in rural areas as defined by national statistical offices. It is calculated as the difference between total population and urban population.
GDP (current US$): It is the sum of gross value added by all resident producers in the economy plus any product taxes and minus any subsidies not included in the value of the products. It is calculated without making deductions for depreciation of fabricated assets or for depletion and degradation of natural resources.
GDP Per Capita (current US$): It is gross domestic product divided by midyear population
Access to Electricity (% of population): It is the percentage of population with access to electricity.
Energy Imports Net (% of energy use): It is estimated as energy use less production, both measured in oil equivalents. A negative value indicates that the country is a net exporter. Energy use refers to use of primary energy before transformation to other end-use fuels, which is equal to indigenous production plus imports and stock changes, minus exports and fuels supplied to ships and aircraft engaged in international transport.
Fossil Fuel Energy Consumption (% of total): It comprises coal, oil, petroleum, and natural gas products.
At 78% of a 3500 kToe annual primary energy supply, biomass, mainly in the form of wood and charcoal for domestic use, plays the dominant role in the Malian energy balance.
Despite substantial oil (and uranium) reserves in the north of the country, till date for its fossil fuel provision, accounting for 18 % of the primary supply, Mali fully depends on importation; cost of this supply corresponds to 16 % of the national budget, increasing by 1/10th annually.
The remaining 4% of the primary energy supply is largely made up of renewably generated electricity, mainly by hydropower.
On the energy consumption side, households consume 86 % of Mali’s energy, (road) transport 10 %, industry (mainly mining) 3 % and agriculture 1 % (2003 figures).
An estimated 20% of the fuel import is used for grid based electricity production through approximately 170 MW installed capacity, corresponding to roughly half the total generation capacity, where the other half consists of hydropower.
Total annual electricity production is 500 - 600 GWh. This electricity is mainly used for electrification of urban and peri-urban areas: the national utility EDM serves some 60 urban municipalities through the national grid
Grid extension into rural areas is limited and the country is too poor, too big and too sparsely populated to expect such extension to happen at any meaningful scale in the coming years. Rural electrification, in so far it has been achieved, thus is by mini-grids or by individual systems.
Since the 80's consumption increased constantly, while the installed capacity remained pretty much the same till the turn of the century; over the last decade though additional generation capacity became available (see graph).
With a third of its 16 million population living in urban areas (again a third of which in Bamako), approximately a quarter of the Malian population is provided with electricity, made up of 59% in urban areas and 14% in rural areas. The reported figure for rural electrification thereby has risen sharply from 2% a decade ago; however, quantity, quality, reliability and affordability of this rural access often are questionable. At present off-grid electricity supply still is mainly by diesel generators, although little by little more PV generated electricity is becoming available.
Renewable Energy Potential
Whilst current primary energy supply is largely by either (non-renewable) use of biomass or by imported fossil fuels, the countries' potential for renewables is large:
Solar irradiation is well distributed over the territory and at 5-7 kWh/m2/day is relatively high, while there's plenty of space to make use of this irradiation.
Projects for building of solar thermal plants with a capacity of more than 100 MW are being prepared although climate proofing these installations is not yet considered.
With recent drops in PV-panel prices, also more and more PV generated electricity is becoming available, ranging from pico PV devices to several 100's kW PV power plants
For information about the first grid connected solar plant in mali, see First Grid-connected Solar Power Plant in Mali
Significant wind energy potential is available, though hardly used, particularly in the Sahelian and Saharan zones, where annual average wind speed is estimated at 3 to 7m/s.
The potential for large hydroelectric sites (> 10 MW) is estimated at 1,150 MW, all of which along the rivers Niger and Senegal, of which about 250 MW is presently developed, and partly shared with Senegal and Mauritania; this concerns primarily the hydroelectric plants of Sélingué (46 MW) urbine) and Manantali (200 MW). Apart from that various sites provide options for mini- or micro-hydro plants.
Whilst presently most biomass use is non-sustainable, Mali's large agricultural base offers various possibilities for renewable energy production, in the form of biomass, biogas and biofuels (alcohol, plant oil). Given biomass’s central role in Mali’s energy mix, more work needs to be done on researching and developing drought resistant crops. The development of alternative fuels from biomass residues would help to off-set household energy vulnerability, particularly in rural areas.
At present, only a small fraction of this renewable power generating potential is exploited. In recent years, the necessity of tapping these resources, a.o. for rural electrification was clearly identified, and also national agencies are now steering towards provision of renewables based rural electrification, a direction already adopted by intervening NGO's earlier on.
As part of a decade-long initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the multi-functional platform project provides decentralized energy to rural villages in response to requests from local women’s associations in Mali.
The small size and dispersed locations of villages in Mali for a long time made off-grid decentralized mechanical and electric energy supply the only viable option. A multifunctional platform consists of a 10-hp diesel engine that, as desired, can power a mill, a generator, a pump or other devices mounted on the same rail. The engine was purposefully designed to take for the multiple end uses.
The project objectives were to:
- Provide de-centralized and sustainable energy supply to Malian villages
- Free women from arduous, repetitive, and time consuming tasks for better quality of life and ability to pursue income-generating activities and education
- Aid women’s associations in obtaining credit
- Train women in management and maintenance and provide them with numeracy, literacy, and entrepreneurial skills
- Spur small-scale industrial development
-> For more information on the project, click here.
With increasing fossil fuel prices, running such MFP's is getting more and more expensive in which respect some initiatives are started to replace (fossil) diesel for the MFP's by biodiesel and / or biogas. Not only would such transition eventually result in cheaper fuels, the associated budget also stays within Malian economy - as opposed to (import of) fossil fuel
Key Problems of the Energy Sector
Power Africa lists the following as Mali's energy sector's most challenging bottlenecks:
- Insecurity and unstable governance
- Utility's unreliability
- Unstable grid network
Institutional Set-up and Actors in the Energy Sector
Public Institutions and Actors
Somehow involved in the energy sector are no less than four ministries, three directorates, one research institute liaised to the DNE, five legally privatised services and a regulatory body for electricity and drinking water (CREE). Amongst those the following are most relevant where rural electrification is concerned:
The Ministry for Energy and Water (MEE) is one of the biggest and most important ministries in Mali. The MEE is responsible for policy formulation, promotion, coordination, monitoring and evaluation.It is structured into the Direction Nationale de l’Energie (DNE) and the Direction Nationale de l’Hydraulique
AMADER is the Malian Agency for rural electrification and household energy and as such the most important partner for EnDev. It's main tasks are:
- Acceleration of the use of modern energy in rural and periurban areas.
- Promotion of community-based forest management
- Support the reform of the energy sector and related institutions
Since 2005 AMADER with WB-funding ran the PCASER programme, subsidising the initial; investment for rural, local electrification initiatives. This resulted in some 200 rural minigrids, nearly all diesel driven and operated by in total some 60 different operators. Many of these in practice are little used, mainly because of high fuel costs.
Recently AMADER received an additional 50 M$ funding by the World Bank under the Scaling up Renewable Energy Programme (SREP). A large share of this funding will serve to convert diesel-powered mini-grids to solar-diesel hybrid operation.
Centre National d’Energie Solaire et des Energies Renouvelables (CNESOLER)
The National Centre for Solar and Renewable Energy (CNESOLER) is a research centre under the DNE at which mainly solar powered renewable technologies are tested.
The CREE is the regulatory authority of the water and electricity sector. It's main responsibilities are:
- Assistance in the development of sector strategies
- Control of tenders and grant of concessions
- Approbation and control of tariffs
Non Governmental Service Providers
Société Energie du Mali (EDM-SA)
The former state-owned EDM was privatized in 2000 and is now owned by the SAUR-IPS group (60 %), while 40 % of the shares remain with the state. EDM is the only concessionaire for the public electricity supply. Beside the grid-system there are 21 isolated production centres with an installed capacity of 38.4 MW. In 2006 these systems produced 101 million kWh.
The EEM is a local branch of the South African Eskom SA. Is is responsible for the operation of the Manantali hydroelectric power plant at the Malian-Senegalese-Mauritanian border. The installed capacity is 200 MW.
Private operators and NGO's
Mainly through AMADER's PCASER programme over the last years in total some 60 private operators and NGO's have started operating rural minigrids, often just one or two while some of the bigger operators, like YEELEN KURA or MFC operate some 10 rural mini-grids.
-> GTZ-Publication: Les Associations des Institutions de Microfinance
Malian energy policy aims at contributing to a sustainable development of the country by making energy services available to as many as possible, thereby favouring (promotion of) social-economic activities. There are four specific objectives:
- Satisfy the energy needs of the country in terms of quality and quantity at modest cost;
- Ensure protection of people, goods and the environment against risks inherent to energy services;
- Strengthen the energy sector's capacity in terms of management, control and strategic planning;
- Strengthen international cooperation regarding the energy sector.
These policies in general however are not yet sufficiently developed and implemented to respond adequately to the rising demand for particularly electricity.
The large number of ministries, services and other actors somehow involved in the energy sector thereby imply the amount of legal texts and regulations is considerable and communication amongst them crucial while not always sufficiently practised.
The general energy strategy of Mali focuses on the development of local resources such as hydropower and solar energy in order to reduce petroleum imports.
Objectives of the National Energy Policy regarding renewable energy are:
- Promotion of RE. The percentage of electricity generated by RE shall reach 6 % in 2010 and 10 % in 2015 (it was less than 1 % in 2004)
- Search for financing mechanisms adapted to RE-technologies.
- Ensure a sustainable setting for RE-technologies
For rural electrification a target of 55% by 2015 was set.
The GoM has restructured the sector by adopting a new Electricity Law and its implementation texts, which ends EDM’s monopoly and has opened the sector to competition, under a regime of transparent regulation by an independent agency. Reform processes and institutions need to be strengthened to foster a lasting competitive business environment attractive to private investors and operators. The imperative to provide energy services to the poor calls for a spectrum of energy services, innovative service delivery mechanisms, with participation by communities, NGOs and the private sector.
The other relevant polices are:
- National Action Plan for Renewable Energies: This policy aims to install 1.42 GW of renewable energy (nine times of its installed capacity in 2019) by 2030 in Mali .
- Import tax exemption on solar panels, wind turbine blades, and pump turbines approved in 2020. These products do not have to pay Value-added taxes and import taxes .
Key Problems Hampering Access to Modern Energy Services in Rural Areas
The existing national electrification policies are not yet ready to close the existing energy gap. EDM, the privatised national utility, serves only 60 urban locations through the national grid. Considering the poverty, the sheer size and the low population density, covering large parts of Mali by the national grid acnnot be expected for a long time to come. That's yet apart from the fact that EDM at present is loss-making - despite being seriously subsidised - i,plying there's no budget for any such extension at all.
Mali's Agency for Domestic Energy and Rural Electrification (AMADER), whose rural electrification strategy focuses on the creation of a private sector in which public/private partnerships on a local level should take a lead role in the rural electrification process, seems completely surpassed by the task to provide the off-grid majority of over 700 rural communes (11.000 villages) with access to electricity. Both central state institutions have neither the capacity nor the resources to achieve their national goal, yet apart from the fact that there's a lack of local capacity to implement the ambitious programmes.
They also insufficiently interlink electricity provision with decentralisation politics and normally don't involve local municipalities in planning and running of energy facilities which is crucially important to ensure their long-term sustainability. In all this implies the national goal of reaching 55% rural electrification by 2015 is out of reach.
As indicated above, rural electrification in the last decade has risen from just 2 % to approximately 14 %, however many of was through diesel driven mini-grids that often are not truly operational because of high fuel prices. Hybridising such mini-grids could be part of the solution however still then currently allowed tariffs - appr € 0,40 / kWh - are insufficient to allow profitable and continued operation. Tariffs are set by AMADER / CREE - that will not allow higher tariffs as that would creat too big a difference with EDM urban tariffs of approximately € 0,20 / kWh.
Hence a true increase of rural electrification by private operators at present firstly requires a revision of (national) electrification tariffs, creating conditions for profitable and sustainable operation of rural mini-grids
- USAID Power Africa: Mali Factsheet
- GTZ (2007): Eastern Africa Resource Base: GTZ Online Regional Energy Resource Base: Regional and Country Specific Energy Resource Database: VII - Best Practice Case Studies.
- Power Africa. (2018). Mali Factsheet. Retrieved from: https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1860/Mali_Fact_Sheet_Power_Africa.pdf