The Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) has taken a pioneering role in the promotion of sustainable energy services through a regional approach - resulting in the creation of the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE). ECREEE was established with support of the Governments of Cabo Verde, Austria, Spain and UNIDO. Its objective is to promote the deployment of sustainable energy technologies in ECOWAS Member States. The Centre’s priority areas of intervention include: development of Policies, Legal and Regulatory Frameworks; Capacity Development; Awareness Raising and Knowledge Management; and Project Development and Investment Promotion.
Within 8 years of operations, ECREEE has successfully executed several programmes and has since attained international recognition as a unique regional sustainable energy promotion agency in Sub-Saharan Africa. Other regional organizations such as the Southern and Eastern African regions, the Pacific, Caribbean, Himalayan regions have emulated ECOWAS and established similar sustainable centres.
As a request of ECOWAS Energy Ministers, ECREEE also serves as the implementation agency for the Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) in the ECOWAS region. ECREEE also supports the work of the Africa Energy Leaders Group (AELG), a working group of Leading African political and economic leaders, pooling their complementary skills to build momentum for a new vision to the Africa energy challenge.
To attain the targets of the regional sustainable energy policies, ECOWAS Member States, with the support of ECREEE and partners, have developed their respective SEforALL National Sustainable Energy Country Action Plans and Investment Prospectuses, has the Guinea Bissau example widely disseminated by ALER trough Promoting investments in small to medium scale renewable energy technologies in the electricity sector of Guinea Bissau Project, in partnership with ECREEE and UNIDO and with GEF support. When implemented, these plans will fundamentally revolutionize the region’s energy sector in a sustainable manner.
In 2017, the ECOWAS Heads of States adopted the West Africa Clean Energy Corridor initiative. The Initiative has four (4) renewable energy components - solar, wind, hydropower and biomass energy; and was created by ECREEE in collaboration with multiple stakeholders. The West Africa Solar Corridor aims to develop 2 gigawatts in solar generation capacity by 2020 and 10 gigawatts by 2030. When completed, the West Africa Solar Corridor will meet a significant share of the region’s demand for electricity with solar energy by making use of the high solar irradiation in the region and will also allow for lower generation cost.
ECREEE is also focused on decentralized solutions, such as micro-grids, mini-grids, and Solar Home Systems (SHS). The Centre is currently implementing a regional mini-grid rural electrification project, which aims at electrifying 4,000 rural localities using renewable energy based mini-grids. ECREEE is also executing a 200 million dollars ECREEE-World Bank Off-grid Regional Electrification Project (ROGEP), which aims to increase access to sustainable electricity services through standalone systems to at least 10 million people.
The ECOWAS region’s sustainable energy sector is currently at the threshold of significant developments. The goal is to be the top destination for energy investments in the not-too-distant future. ECOWAS Governments are committed to providing adequate incentives for private sector engagement as they strive to diversify energy supply through regional integration, exploitation of abundant sustainable energy resources, and increasing access to energy.
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