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Sustainable Energy Development in the Ecowas Region

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The ECOWAS Member States increasingly recognize that achieving the goals for energy access and energy security will require increased use of renewable energy, as well as increased efficiency in the use of energy. 

In July 2013, the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government adopted two ground-breaking policies:

– the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy (EREP), which aims to increase the share of renewable energy in the region’s overall electricity mix to 35% in 2020 and 48% in 2030; 

– and the ECOWAS Energy Efficiency Policy (EEEP), which aims to implement measures that free 2000 MW of power-generation capacity and in the long term, more than double the annual improvement in energy efficiency. 

The policies include a broad range of RE&EE measures to be implemented at regional and national levels, and represent the ECOWAS contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Energy For All (SE4ALL). 

Based on a mandate by the ECOWAS authorities to coordinate the implementation of the regional policies as well the SE4ALL Initiative in West Africa, the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) is currently assisting the ECOWAS Member States to develop their respective National Action Plans. 

Through the national action plan process, Member States will institutionalize actions that promote investments in sustainable energy services.  

The development and execution of the regional policies are being supported by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the European Commission, the Governments of Austria, Spain and Germany, as well as the GEF Strategic Programme for West Africa (GEF-SPWA).

ECREEE’s contribution to the SE4ALL Initiative has been very well-recognized by the SE4ALL Partners.  Within the SE4ALL Initiative programme, ECREEE has also developed the Regional Rural Electrification programme, which was a direct outcome of ECREEE’s membership of the SE4ALL Energy Access Committee and the High Impact Opportunities – HIO project of Clean Energy Mini Grids. 

ECREEE also supports the work of the Africa Energy Leaders Group (AELG), a working group Of Afican political and economic leaders who are pooling their complementary skills to build momentum for a new vision and new solutions to the energy challenge. 

The group has been endorsed by the Presidents of Cote d’ Ívoire,   Ghana, and Nigeria, as well as the ECOWAS Commission.

ECREEE is also actively mobilizing investments that will promote investments in clean, efficient and renewable energy technologies. Its investment programme is being implemented within two major initiatives: the ECOWAS RE Facility (EREF) and the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Investment Initiative (EREI). 

The EREF, which calls for an innovative investment fund for RE&EE projects to raise funding for at least 200 projects and support local manufacturing and service companies. 

The first call for proposals was successfully launched in 2011 and had an overall funding volume, including co-funding, of 3 million EUR. Over 40 projects were selected for the grant award and are currently at various stages of completion. 

In 2014, ECREEE launched the second EREF call for proposals. The call, which has a special focus on green mini-grids, currently has funding of 1 million Euros, with additional financing expected. 

Over 50 proposals were received. Six projects were selected and are currently under development.

ECREEE also won an Energy Facility project from the European Union (EU) to implement an ambitious rural electrification program in Forty villages with solar mini-grids in the southeast of Senegal, particularly in Ziguinchor, Kolda and Tambacounda, over the next four years. 

The project will go a long way in increasing access to electricity and boosting socio-economic development in a region that has the lowest income and electrification rates in Senegal. 

The 8.9 million Euro project is being co-financed by the EU to the tune of 6.4 million Euros.

ECREEE also serves as the implementing agency for the GEF-UNIDO project “Promoting market based development of small to medium scale renewable energy systems in Cabo Verde”. 

The project supports sustainable development in Cabo Verde through the creation of market conditions conducive for the development of small to medium-scale renewable energy systems in line with national energy policy objectives of making the country less dependent on imported fossil fuels.  

Similarly, a UNIDO/ECREEE-GEF project has been established to increase renewable energy in the electricity sector of Guinea-Bissau. 

The project will promote the installation of 2.5 MW renewable energy generation capacity and foster the development of a National Renewable Energy Investment Plan. 

Moreover, it aims at developing and bringing the 18MW Saltinho Hydropower project to financial close. 

A Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Guinea-Bissau, OMVG, UNIDO, African Development Bank (AfDB) and ECREEE is under preparation.

In the area of capacity development, ECREEE is building the capacity of market-enablers and players to develop and implement renewable energy and energy efficiency investments programs in the ECOWAS Region. 

ECREEE is currently implementing several train-the-trainer (TTT) programmes for a number of relevant renewable energy tools, such as RetScreen and the hybrid optimization model for electric renewables (HOMER). 

Follow-up trainings have been undertaken across the ECOWAS Member States. Other trainings include impact of high RE penetration on electrical systems; installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems; E-learning program on Sustainable Energy Solutions; study tours and field visits for West African energy sector stakeholders.

ECREEE also developed, and manages the ECOWAS Observatory for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECOWREX). 

This is a web-based portal which provides decision-makers, project developers, investors and other marked enablers with tailored information, AND data and planning strategies. 

The project is supported by ECREEE and UNIDO under the GEF Project “Promoting Coordination, Coherence and Knowledge Management under Energy Component of the Strategic Program for West Africa (SPWA)”, the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).

In 2014, ECREEE won a Call for Proposals by the ACP-EU Co-operation Programme in Science and Technology (S&T II) and is currently implementing a project – “Promoting Sustainable Energy Access Through the Use of Geospatial Technologies in West Africa”. 

The project aims to enhance the functionalities of the ECOWREX platform by incorporating new technologies compliant with international standards for aiding data interoperability, extraction, sharing and transfer of scientific knowledge.

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