ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy (EREP)

At the background of the severe energy crisis in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the fifteen Member States have expressed the need to mainstream renewable energy and energy efficiency into their national policies. Due to different barriers,  the countries are unable to take advantage of their vast renewable energy and energy efficiency potentials. In this context, the countries have agreed to stronger regional cooperation and integration to accelerate this process. The renewable energy and energy efficiency directives of the European Union have shown that regional integration can be an effective tool to catalyse necessary actions at national level.

As part of its mandate, the Centre has been leading the process of developing and implementing the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy (EREP), prepared by ECREEE with the technical assistance of the ACP-EU Renewable Energy Programme (RECP) and UNIDO. In parallel, the ECOWAS Energy Efficiency Policy (EEEP) was developed. The EREP, which was prepared on the basis of a comprehensive renewable energy baseline report, was adopted by the ECOWAS Ministers of Energy at the ECOWAS High Level Energy Forum, which took place from 29 to 31 October 2012 in Accra, Ghana.

The EREP includes a comprehensive action plan. The following years, ECREEE and its partners are focusing on translating the regional objectives to national targets and activities. ECREEE is currently providing technical assistance to Member States in developing National Renewable Energy Policies (NREPs) and corresponding Action Plans as envisaged in the EREP action plan. 

The EREP Targets

The EREP vision is to secure an increasing and comprehensive share of the Member States’ energy supplies and services from timely, reliable, sufficient, cost-effective uses of renewable energy sources enabling:

  1. Universal access to electricity by 2030
  2. A more sustainable and safe provision of domestic energy services for cooking thus achieving the objectives of the White Paper for access to modern energy services by 2020. 

Three groups of targets are set by the EREP:

  1. grid-connected renewable energy applications;
  2. off-grid and stand-alone applications; and
  3. domestic renewable energy applications. 

The EREP, in combination with the EEEP responds to the severe energy crisis in the ECOWAS region. The countries face the challenges of energy poverty, energy security and climate change mitigation simultaneously. The situation is characterised particularly by:

  • A large volume of suppressed demand (7 to 10 TWh from 2006 to 2010)
  • A general poor access to electricity (40% in average, but for many countries less than 20%), a deficit that is even more pronounced for rural areas
  • An unsustainable woodfuel supply that no longer meets the growing demand leading to an overexploitation of the wood resources and for some countries, to deforestation.

The EREP has been developed within the context of several recent regional and global energy policy initiatives and strategy frameworks namely:

  • The ECOWAS White Paper on a Regional Policy for Increasing Access to Energy Services in Peri-Urban and Rural Areas by 2015
  • The UN Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Initiative
  • The WAPP Revised Master Plan for an integrated regional power market
  • UEMOA-IRED initiative for sustainable energies
  • CILSS initiatives on PV and traditional biomass

The policy document is available in English and French.