9 of May 2022

São Tomé and Príncipe is firm on the path towards the Energy Transition

São Tomé and Príncipe remains firm on the path towards the energy transition, with a view to increase the country's resilience to external shocks, reducing energy dependence, making large-scale use of the potential of existing renewable energies, promoting energy efficiency and electric mobility.


The last four years have been of hard work, with an important progress in the areas of regulation, planning and structuring of the action plans. From now on, the 2022-2030 period should be fulfilled with important milestones linked to the structural aspects of the promotion of national measures for energy sustainability, namely with the progress of the operational phase that, at this moment, are having moderate advances derived from the difficult situation that the whole world is facing, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  


However, in the current context of the crisis, the concern with resilience, energy security and universal access to clean energy, gain even greater relevance, confirming the assertiveness of our energy policy.


Regarding the development of renewable energies, the goals established in the new Action Plans for the energy sector 2030/2050, which were presented on April 21st in a webinar organized by ALER and are available for consultation here, aim to reach above 50% production of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030, and exceed 68% of electricity production from renewable energy sources by 2050.


The effort on distributed generation for self-consumption will also have its contribution to the implementation of these measures. The last survey reveals an installed capacity of around 2 kW considering cooperative units and fishing associations. The objective is to reach at least an accumulated 2 MW of distributed generation by 2030.


Regarding electric mobility, at least five electric vehicles are already circulating in the country. In 2040, the 1st phase of implementation of the project to promote electric mobility will take place, for which all the necessary legislation and regulations are being developed and a supplementary concession program is being put in place.


We also want to structure an electric mobility project for the artisanal fishing sector and inter-island transport within the scope of the blue economy strategy.


However, the sustainability of these changes involves an important effort of institutional development and consolidation, namely improvement of the environment, business and availability of human resources with high levels of qualification and certification.


Today, the Sustainable Development Goals, including the development of renewable energies and the promotion of energy efficiency and energy access, are part of the agenda of all CPLP member countries and beyond, which within the diversity of the potentialities and in the scoop of the national context represents an unique and privilege opportunity for exchange, strengthening cooperation ties, establishment of technical and business partnerships, exchange of experiences, technologies and research, and the development of human resources.


In terms of cooking, the majority of the population does not have access to sustainable cooking services and depends on traditional biomass and charcoal.


In this context, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Ministry of Public Works, Infrastructure, Natural Resources, and the Environment are implementing the project “Strategic program to promote investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency in the energy sector of São Tomé and Príncipe" in close coordination with the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank, the African Development Bank and others.


This action contributes to the 2030 Vision “São Tomé and Príncipe 2030: the country we need to build”, which aims to transform the country into a vibrant and climate-resilient island hub for blue economy businesses, financial services and tourism, benefiting from the growing market of the Economic Community of Central African States. The success of this Vision is heavily dependent on a reform of the energy sector and a transformational shift in the economy, relying on imported fossil fuels for renewable energy and energy efficiency. Reducing diesel spending will generate money for socio-economic development and an adaptation to climate change.


The process starts now, the hard work starts as soon as we move from plan to action. Changes in secondary legislation and the introduction of fiscal and non-fiscal policy instruments need to be applied by all actors. Practical procedures need to pass the real test with concrete investment projects. And so, finally paving the way for project financing and private sector participation, as it is envisioned in Vision 2030.


Gabriel Maquengo

Director of Energy of the Directorate General for Natural Resources and Energy of the Ministry of Infrastructure, Natural Resources and Environment of São Tomé and Príncipe