Cameroon has the third largest hydropower potential in Africa (after Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia). To date, less than 5% has been utilised out of the technically feasible exploitable potential of around 23 GW, equivalent to the generating capacity of 115 TWh/year, located principally in the Sanaga basin. Cameroon’s government plans to add capacity of at least 450 MW by 2017. Three large scale hydropower projects are currently in various stages of development: Lom Pangar (30 MW), Memeve’ele (210 MW), Nachtigal (420 MW).
Cameroon’s enormous forest area covers almost 50% of the country and represents the 3rd largest biomass potential in sub-Saharan Africa. Evaluated at ~25 million hectares, it is the most abundantly used energy source for lighting and heating of households, especially in rural zones. Cameroon’s potential to produce electricity from biomass residues is estimated at ~1 GWh. A recent study of the Rural Electrification Agency identified 37 sites in 9 regions where energy can be produced using biomass. At present, Cameroon is not taking part in any commercial production of biofuels; only a few isolated trials have been undertaken.
To date no detailed assessment for the geothermal potential within Cameroon has been conducted, although the presence of an active volcanic line alongside Cameroon’s Western border, emphasised by thermal springs and the frequent eruptions of Mount Cameroon, points towards favourable conditions. Hot springs are found in Ngaoundéré, Mt Cameroon and Manengoumba area, Lake Moundou.