Unlocking Somalia’s Clean Energy Potential

Power Africa
4 min readJun 5, 2024


A solar panel field in the foreground with wind turbines and buildings in the background. There are clouds floating above. The sky is bright blue.
Solar panels and wind turbines at a power plant operated by the National Energy Corporation of Somalia, a utility in Garowe. Photo Credit: Abdishakur Ahmed for Power Africa

Somalia has made important headway on its path to economic recovery, following a series of extreme weather shocks. Clean, affordable, and consistent energy is vital to the country’s return to prosperity. However, more than half of the country remains without access to electricity: the national electrification rate is about 49 percent and rural access is at about 30 percent.

Somalia has a decentralized energy landscape, dominated by electricity service providers that run small and isolated mini-grids powered by diesel generators. There are limited national regulations and legal frameworks to guide or govern their operations, which has resulted in a competitive private energy sector, but a patchwork of services and a lack of coherence and collaboration.

Power Africa assistance is advancing Somalia’s clean energy transition and addressing cost and reliability through targeted support to electricity service providers.

Renewable Energy Potential and Challenges

Somalia has one of the highest potentials for renewable energy in sub-Saharan Africa. The country is endowed with shoreline wind power that can generate up to 45 gigawatts (GW) of electricity, 3,000 hours of sunlight annually, and a high irradiation rate that can yield between 5 and 7 kilowatt hours (kWh) per square meter of solar panel surface per day, which can power a refrigerator and a television for a full day.

Despite this potential, Somalia harnesses only about 42 megawatts (MW) of electricity from renewable resources, or just over 12 percent of the total generation capacity. The other 88 percent (303MW) comes from highly-polluting diesel generators. Additionally, Somalia’s reliance on imported diesel, leads to high generation costs and subsequently one of the highest electricity tariffs in Africa, exceeding $0.50 per kWh. This rate is significantly higher than in neighboring countries like Kenya, where it costs around $0.15 per kWh, and Ethiopia, where the rate is approximately $0.06 per kWh. In addition, the insecurity along major diesel supply routes necessitates payments to illegitimate groups, further driving up costs. These factors are compounded by the absence of reliable market data, which not only hinders efforts to attract foreign investors, but also amplifies their perception of risk.

Two large, bright green generators in a warehouse.
Diesel generators at the National Electric Corporation of Somalia (NECSOM) power plant in Garowe, Somalia. High speed diesel generators are the main source of electricity generation in Somalia. Photo Credit: NECSOM

The Government of Somalia is working with several partners to transition to renewable energy, as highlighted in the Somalia Power Master Plan and Somalia National Development Plan. Remedies include increases in clean energy generation, affordable access via mini-grids, standalone solar home systems for remote and rural households, and promotion of the productive use of energy, which is the use of electricity for income-generating activities. The Government of Somalia enacted the Electricity Act of 2023, which establishes the National Electricity Authority and provides proper legal and regulatory frameworks for electricity development and access.

Power Africa Support

Power Africa supports Somalia’s electricity service providers by offering technical assistance to enhance their knowledge and skills to improve their operational efficiency and service delivery. Power Africa also continues to offer strategic interventions to strengthen the regulatory and policy environment in the country, including technical assistance to harmonize state and federal policies and regulations, as well as capacity building for the newly formed National Electricity Authority. Power Africa also provides advisory support on public-private partnerships and power purchase agreements.

Power Africa recognizes the vital role of the private sector in developing Somalia’s energy sector and driving the transition to clean and sustainable energy. We continue to work with electricity service providers by building domestic capacity through coaching and training in management of utility networks, energy demand forecasting, procurement and project management training, and specification and quality control of electrical materials and battery energy storage systems.

Power Africa also performs load-flow analyses and demand assessments for selected electricity service providers to aid their planning and grid management and is preparing a market assessment of the energy sector, which will provide key information to potential investors. Additional support to private sector energy players includes facilitating the integration of smart meters and management of smart-grids, which are advanced electricity systems that use digital communications technology to monitor and control the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity to customers. These efforts will help electricity service providers in Somalia improve their service delivery and prime them for the transition to renewable energy.

Through strategic collaboration with the private sector, Somalia is poised to unlock its renewable energy potential, which will pave the way for a brighter, more resilient, and more prosperous future for its citizens.



Power Africa

A U.S. Government-led partnership that seeks to add 30,000 MW and 60 million electricity connections in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 > https://bit.ly/2yPx3lJ