Mauritania is poised to tackle its electricity access problems with a clean energy drive according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The study, written in association with the United Nations Development Programme, says that developing Mauritania’s significant renewable energy resources will allow the country to grow its local economy and improve access to energy.

While the share of households in Mauritania with access to electricity has roughly doubled since 2000, access to energy services remains limited due to various geographic and economic factors, including widely-spread large urban population centres and significant rural populations distributed throughout the country.IRENA Mauritania report

The IRENA report states that several planned investments in wind and solar “would greatly advance renewable energy capacity in Mauritania, but not enough to keep up with demand growth stemming from the mining sector. Electricity demand is expected to grow by up to 600 per cent between 2010 and 2030, led primarily by industry needs and fuelled in part by rising domestic demand”.

The report finds that development of renewable energy in the country would be facilitated by the existing electricity network of mini-grids. Such a transition would be mainly driven by solar and wind resources and could be strengthened by co-operation with both the Maghreb region and West Africa. It would enable Mauritania to not only provide energy for domestic economic development, but also make the country a renewable energy exporter.

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.”