Observatory for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECOWREX)

The non-availability of reliable and updated energy information poses a major constraint for local and international investors, policy makers, and other stakeholders in the energy sector, in West Africa. Data and information barriers that exist in the region includes lack of availability of quality information on energy systems and renewable energy resource potential, lack of standards, low level of awareness and technological development in terms of resource management. Given this situation, significant opportunities are lost for sustainable energy development in the ECOWAS region.

As a response to address this knowledge and information barriers towards the development and use of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in the region, the ECOWAS Observatory for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECOWREX) was developed in 2012 by ECREEE under the GEF project framework "Promoting Coordination, Coherence and Knowledge Management under Energy Component of the Strategic Program for West Africa (SPWA)", in cooperation with the united Nations Industrial development Organisation (UNIDO) and support from the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). ECOWREX was adopted by the ECOWAS Energy Ministers in October 31st, at its 11th meeting, in Accra, Ghana.

The main objectives of ECOWREX is to provide targeted, timely and statistical information and data about the energy sector (especially in the field of RE and EE) in the ECOWAS Region. This includes RE&EE policies and regulatory frameworks, potentials, stakeholders, policies, events, lessons learned and investment projects, and the use geospatial technology to visualize and overlay the energy resource with the existing infrastructure and other human activities, to help us define “where” and “when” specific renewable energy technologies can be used. 

Specifically, ECOWREX is intended provide decision makers, project developers, investors and other stakeholders with tailored information to establish an initial critical assessment of the energy situation. It is aimed at boosting knowledge management, networking, advocacy and strengthening capacities on renewable energy and energy efficiency, acting as a catalyst for policy development and energy planning. It is expected that ECOWREX will greatly contribute to the following areas of development:

  1. Increase resource management and planning skills of member states especially the national authorities involved in planning their energy systems.
  2. Increase the knowledge of renewable energy resource potential and means to exploit them.
  3. Support policy makers and national ministries with scientific tool to help to guide their laws and targets, project the future and follow the trends of development
  4. Provide reliable and adequate data to investors, thereby boosting confidence in their investment.
  5. Serve as a tool to complement or facilitate the adoption and implementation of national and regional policies, initiatives, programs and activities including the ECOWAS/UEMOA White Paper on Access to Energy Services in Peri-Urban and Rural areas, the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy, the ECOWAS Energy Efficiency Policy, Master Plan of the West African Power Pool (WAPP), Rural Areas the UN Goals on Universal Access to Energy Services by 2030, and the goals of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership.
  6. Serve to enhance regional integration of strategy within the ECOWAS Region.

The ECOWREX will also act as an enabler to foster the adoption of interoperable services in Africa by participating to the recent AfriGEOSS initiative, the African contribution to GEOSS. Synergies will be developed with other African-related projects such as Afromaison (http://www.afromaison.net) and EnerGEO (http://www.energeo-project.eu/) or with United Nations initiatives like UN-SDI or UNEP-Live (http://www.uneplive.org). Currently ECOWREX is contributor to the Global Solar and Wind Atlas (available at: http://irena.masdar.ac.ae/), a comprehensive information platform providing resources maps form leading technical institutes worldwide, developed by IRENA.