Mauritania - Country Commercial Guide
Renewable Energy
Last published date:

Diversifying the country’s energy sources and decarbonizing the energy sector is a top priority for the GIRM, as outlined in Mauritania’s ambitious strategic plan for the future development of its petroleum, mines, and energy resources from 2022 to 2030.  Priorities include reduction of energy costs through diversified energy sources including forthcoming domestic natural gas, addition of generation capacities to meet a growing demand, an increase in regional energy integration, a shift from heavy fuel oil to hybrid power plans, and increased electricity access in rural areas.   
In late 2022, Mauritania embarked on a transformative journey for its energy landscape by inaugurating a new electricity code, echoing its robust commitment to decarbonization.  This reform stands poised to unleash a surplus of benefits, especially for Mauritania’s extractive sectors and the broader local economy.  Central to this initiative is the strategic shift towards renewable energy sources and the inclusion of IPPs to bolster the power matrix.  As a part of this new code, there is an ambitious plan to liberalize the electricity sector, marked by the crucial restructuring of institutions like the state-owned electricity company, Societé Mauritanienne de L’Electricité (SOMELEC).  This aims not only to optimize electricity production but also to catalyze both domestic and foreign investments. The expansion of rural electrification signifies another promising dimension, ensuring broader accessibility of power. Furthermore, the drive towards cleaner energy sources addresses both environmental and supply-demand equilibrium concerns.  Crucially, this reform has opened the gates for public-private partnerships (PPP) in the energy realm, suggesting a proactive synergy between government policies and private enterprise. Such a symbiotic approach can pave the way for Mauritania to efficiently meet its surging electricity demands, thus fostering an environment conducive to growth in its extractive sectors and invigorating the entire local economy.

Estimates for solar energy and wind energy production in Mauritania vary, but all recent studies agree that Mauritania has enormous potential for both solar and wind energy because of its unique geography.  Driven by this momentum, the GIRM has signed a memorandum of understanding for the implementation of various green hydrogen production projects which Mauritania intends to develop in partnership with four distinct developers: CWP Global, Chariot-Total Eren, BP, and the Masdar-Conjuncta-Infinity Power Consortium.  In April 2023, Mauritania hosted the first Africa Green Hydrogen Alliance’s international finance accelerator forum to highlight the country’s potential in green hydrogen and discuss financing models to attract new developers.  


Mauritania, in collaboration with the countries of the Organization for the Development of the Senegal River (OMVS), currently operates two dams to produce hydroelectric energy with a capacity of more than 300 megawatts, distributed among the three countries of the organization, with plans to build more dams.  In addition, wind and solar power plants have been installed in many parts of the country, which have made it possible to increase the percentage of renewable energy production to more than 40 percent of total electricity production in Mauritania.  The wind power plant in the northern town of Boulenouar will also significantly increase the share of the country’s energy mix, when it comes online (though timing is unclear).  The significant share of renewable energy in Mauritania’s total energy portfolio is impressive, especially compared to other countries on the continent. 

The GIRM signed four Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) pertaining to Green Hydrogen Production, with CWP Global in 2021 and another MOU in 2022 to establish the largest “green hydrogen” production project in the world through the installation of wind power plants and solar power systems over an area of more than 8,000 square kilometers.  Total production capacity is estimated to be 30 gigawatts (30,000 megawatts), 1.7 million tons per year of hydrogen, 10 million tons per year of ammonia, and more than 50 million cubic meters of drinking water per year.  London-listed Chariot Energy Group was also granted exclusive rights to two onshore licenses and one offshore wind tract over a 14,400 square kilometer (km²) area.  The project is expected to produce ten gigawatts of solar and wind energy, 600,000 metric tons of green hydrogen per year, and three million tons of green ammonia per year.  In 2023, Germany’s Conjuncta, Egypt’s Infinity Power, and UAE’s Masdar have partnered with Mauritania for a green hydrogen project with a 10 gigawatt electrolyser capacity, set to start its first phase in 2028 in Nouakchott.  Simultaneously, BP, capitalizing on its existing GTA LNG infrastructure, has signed an MOU to explore low-carbon hydrogen production.  Their plan includes building onshore wind and solar farms, with potential capacity reaching 30 gigawatts to produce 2 million tons per year of green hydrogen. 

These initiatives underscore a significant push for renewable energy endeavors in Mauritania. Green hydrogen is an emerging market opportunity in the country, given the availability of about 700,000 square kilometers in the country for the installation of solar panels and/or wind turbines for power generation, according to the MPME.