Sierra Leone - Country Commercial Guide
Energy Infrastructure
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Although Sierra Leone has various forms of energy potential, including biomass from agricultural wastes, hydro, and solar power, it remains underutilized. Energy consumption is dominated mainly by that generated by fuelwood biomass, accounting for around 80 percent of the energy used. Imported petroleum products, the next most significant energy source, are primarily for power generation and account for 13 percent of energy consumption. About 27.5 percent of the total population and about 4.9 percent of the rural population have access to electricity, as of 2021. The power sector is small, with less than 150 MW of energy capacity connecting more than 270,000 customers with the cost of electricity heavily subsidized. The entire country lacks a stable and reliable public power supply and domestic demand remains significantly unmet.

The current electricity supply is challenged by generation capacity and seasonal variation and is disseminated using inadequate and aging transmission and distribution networks. It is delivered at a very high cost with Sierra Leone having one of the highest electricity tariffs in the sub-region. There are numerous waterfalls for hydropower and abundant sunlight for solar power generation with an estimated hydro project potential of more than 1000MW, while solar opportunities are above 240 MW. The major hydropower facility, Bumbuna Dam, with a peak of 50MW during the rainy season, has a reduced output of 8MW in the dry season.

The government has demonstrated a strong commitment to expanding the energy sector despite many major challenges over the past years. The enactment of relevant legislative reforms laid the foundation for the restructuring of the sector, creating the Electricity and Water Regulatory Commission (EWRC) in 2014; unbundling the former National Power Authority (NPA) into the Electricity Generation and Transmission Company (EGTC) and the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) in 2015; and enabling the development of Independent Power Producers (IPP) projects. The EWRC focuses mainly on the regulatory aspects of the sector and sets tariffs for consumers and tariffs between EGTC and IPPs, while the EGTC focuses on electricity generation and transmission. EDSA holds a monopoly as the single buyer from IPPs and the single seller to consumers.

Other initiatives undertaken by the government include the establishment of a Rural Renewable Energy Project to support increased access to rural energy resources, a Rural Electricity Board and Rural Electricity Fund to promote and make electrification widely available in all regions, and a Renewable Energy Empowerment Project to develop a knowledge base of existing renewable energy policies. Additionally, the Côte d’Ivoire-Liberia-Sierra Leone-Guinea (CLSG) interconnector project, under the West African Power Pool (WAPP) program, aims to provide an increased supply of electricity to these countries to meet the growing demand and will create an incentive for hydropower potentials that exist in Sierra Leone.

While the overall objective of the government has been to provide energy in sufficient quantities to all regions of the country, there has been an inadequate investment and limited private sector participation in the energy sector. The government has therefore embarked on various reforms focused on improving governance and regulation to encourage private sector participation in the sector. The national Electricity Act enables the participation of IPPs in power generation and distribution.  The Public-Private Partnership Unit in the Office of the President has developed a standard power purchase agreement to simplify and expedite negotiations with investors in energy and plans to establish feed-in tariffs to harmonize the sale of power from various IPPs into the WAPP and the national grid. The government is also providing special financial incentives to investors in the renewable energy sector and intends to promote the use of Liquified Natural Gas and Liquefied Petroleum Gas. The government is inviting private independent power producers to enter the sector and support the government in achieving this goal.

U.S. investors interested in engaging in the energy sector in Sierra Leone can also seek support through Power Africa. Power Africa is a market-driven, U.S. Government-led public-private partnership aiming to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. It offers tools and resources to private sector entities to facilitate doing business in sub-Saharan Africa’s power sector.  The Electrify Africa Act of 2015 Institutionalized Power Africa. Learn more about the full Power Africa toolbox or other opportunities offered by Power Africa.

Power Africa supported Sierra Leone in 2015 with a $44.4 million four-year threshold program through the United States Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).  The program addressed:  strengthening the regulatory infrastructure; restructuring the water sector; streamlining the electricity sector; guiding the development of a roadmap for the implementation of reforms to enhance financial sustainability; and improved operational efficiency.

Leading Sub-sectors

Consumer demand remains unmet. Electricity generation presents a future opportunity for U.S. investors, particularly in the supply of hydropower and solar energy as independent power producers to the Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority for commercial and residential consumption. The WAPP CLSG interconnector project also offers opportunities for investors.

The expected increase in agriculture and hence increased crop production will be a valuable source of materials for biomass, an alternative source of energy. Wind energy could be effective in coastal areas but, increased generation should be accompanied by the construction of transmission and distribution lines. While the government is looking for support from multilateral development partners, potential private sector investors can invest through public-private partnerships in the transmission and distribution capacity.


Sierra Leone offers investment opportunities in several segments of the energy industry including wind energy, solar energy, hydro, and bioenergy. The Government of Sierra Leone is also seeking infrastructure investment to support expansion of energy distribution and transmission networks. Sierra Leone has good access to natural resources necessary for energy production such as access to viable wind speeds and sunshine for renewable wind and solar projects. The country is also well positioned to support hydro-electric power with high rainfall levels at 2500mm/year. The many rivers with numerous waterfalls and the abundant sunlight for solar energy create considerable capabilities for power generation. U.S. firms command exceptional energy generation expertise and produce high-quality power equipment. This expertise and these products are of priority in the region and are in considerable demand. 


Sierra Leone Ministry of Energy
Telephone: (+232) 78 535009