ECOWAS Agrees on Green Energy Policies as a Voluntary Commitment to the SE4ALL Initiative

 ECOWAS is working towards a voluntary commitment to the Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4ALL) of the UN Secretary-General presented at Rio+20. At a regional validation workshop, held from 25–28 June 2012 in Dakar, Senegal, the Directors of the ECOWAS Ministries of Energy agreed on the main targets and pillars of regional renewable energy and energy efficiency policies for the ECOWAS region. The policies are scheduled to be presented to the ECOWAS Energy Ministers for adoption as regional policies during a High Level Energy Forum, due to take place from October 29–31, 2012 in Accra, Ghana.The policies have the following objectives:• To implement energy efficiency measures that free-up 2000 MW of power generation capacity by 2020: the equivalent of creating 40 virtual power plants, with a capacity of 50 MW each.• To double annual improvements in energy efficiency in the long term.• The share of renewable energy (including large-scale hydro) of the total installed electric generation capacity of ECOWAS will increase to 35% in 2020 and 48% in 2030.• The share of new renewable energy such as wind, solar, small-scale hydro and bioelectricity (excluding large-scale hydro) will increase to around 10% in 2020 and 19% in 2030. These targets translate to an additional 2.425 MW renewable electricity capacity by 2020 and 7.606 MW by 2030. • Around 75% of the rural population will be served through grid extension and around 25% by renewable energy powered by mini-grids and stand-alone systems in 2030.• By 2020 the whole ECOWAS population will have access to improved cooking facilities either through improved stoves or fuel switching to other modern forms of energy such as Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).• The share of ethanol/biodiesel in transport fuels will increase to 5% in 2020 and 10% in 2030.• By 2030 around 50% of all health centres, 25% of all hotels and agro-food industries with hot water requirements will be equipped with solar thermal systems.Speaking at the event, Mr. Philip Mann of the EUEI-PDF noted that the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy project was one of the flagship projects of the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Program (RECP) funded by the EU. He stressed the importance of the regional policy targets and activities being translated into concrete actions at the national levels, while noting the need to monitor progress.Mr. Hugo van Tilborg, Adviser at the EU Delegation to Senegal, in his speech, highlighted the importance of renewable energy and energy efficiency in addressing the major energy challenges facing West Africa. He congratulated ECREEE and its partners for the work done in the elaboration of the two draft policies, noting that the European Union was proud to have contributed to both processes.Mr. Ebrima Njie, ECOWAS Commissioner for Infrastructure, in a speech delivered on his behalf by the ECREEE Executive Director, Mr. Mahama Kappiah, noted that the ECOWAS region will be the second regional organization after the European Union to adopt regional green energy policies. The RE&EE policies, he also noted, will set targets that are cost-effective, feasible and fully in line with the findings of the Global Energy Assessment (GEA) and the SE4ALL presented at Rio+20.