High Level Delegation from The Gambia Energy and Environment Sectors visits Cabo Verde for Study Tour

The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) in partnership with United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) organized a study tour of a high level delegation from Gambia in Cape Verde, from 23th to 27th November 2015. The aim of the study tour was to enable an exchange between The Gambia and Cape Verde on sustainable energy development in order to create synergies in the sector of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The Government of Cape Verde has achieved excellent results in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency, which includes the adoption of clear and coherent renewable energy strategy goals for 2020 and 2030; a high renewable energy penetration rate of 25%, based on wind and solar sources; implementation of off-grid and hybrid mini-grid systems for small rural communities; establishment of a Centre for Renewable Energy and Industrial Maintenance (CERMI), which is going to become a Centre of Excellence for the ECOWAS region.

The participants of the Study tour were representatives from the Ministry of Energy, the National Environment Agency, the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA), the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) and the Renewable Energy Association in Gambia. The study tour was carried out within the framework of awareness-raising and capacity building objectives, especially to exchange knowledge and know-how on how to operationalize Renewable Energy Laws in small developing countries. Equally important was the exchange of know-how and experiences on successful public-private partnerships and initiatives to trigger investments in the sector.

On behalf of the Executive Director of ECREEE, Mr.  Bah Saho, Renewable Energy Expert, ECREEE, welcomed the delegation and introduced projects executed by the Centre in the last five years. Programs and activities of ECREEE, in relation to The Gambia, were also being presented. Mr. Rui Levy, national representative of UNIDO and Mr. Edson Mendes, representative of the Ministry of Energy of Cabo Verde also welcomed the Gambian delegation and reiterated their commitment to contribute towards the overall development of the renewable energy.

In her intervention, the representative of the Gambian delegation, Mrs. Ndey Sireng Bakurin, Executive Director of the National Environment Agency, commended the management and entire staff of the Centre and UNIDO for the activities they carried out. She expressed delight over the dedication of the ECREEE staff in the implementation of the center’s programs with a view to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency in the ECOWAS region. 

Meetings were also held at the Cape Verdean Ministries of Energy and Environment to share experiences on how the development of the legal and regulatory framework of renewables in Cape Verde and the results achieved.

Field visits were undertaken to the Centre for Renewable Energy and Industrial Maintenance (CERMI), Cabeolica wind and solar PV installations in Praia, Vale da Custa hybrid mini-grid installed in the rural area of Santiago island, Electra power system and water desalination plant, the Environment Centre of the Municipality of Praia City, the Cabo Verde Regulatory Authority (ARE) and the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services.

For the Gambia delegation, a very important area for collaboration on in the RE sector is capacity building. They highlighted especially the need to develop skills of solar PV technicians so as to overcome the technical challenges in the sector and offer improved quality services.

The working visit provided the opportunity for learning and knowledge sharing among experts, stakeholders and institutions involved in the fields of sustainable development, environment, energy, particularly renewable energy and access, and also an important step towards sustainable energy development within the ECOWAS region and beyond. 

“The study tour is an innovative and creative way for building networks for sustainable development. Therefore having strategic partnerships with institutions such as UNIDO and ECREEE is important in the sustainable development process.” Ndey Sireng Bakurin, Executive Director National Environment Agency.

“Some of the experiences gained in the area of their electricity operator include the visit of the 5 MW Solar plant and seeing the plant in operation in reality. Similarities between Cape Verde and The Gambia were also noticed. In the area of electricity generation, transmission and distribution Cape Verde has 7 stand-alone Grids like the Gambia.” Lang Sabally, Director of Corporate services Division National Water & Electricity Company.

“My impression on the study tour is generally good.  One of the institutions we visited that really stands out for me is the CERMI Centre. This institution is into capacity building in Renewable Energy technologies and certification.  In the Gambia, one of the main challenges in promoting Renewable Energy Deployment especially Solar in particular is bad workmanship and the use of Sub-standard materials. Therefore I believe it will be very interesting if we can see the possibilities of collaborating with either ECREEE or the Cape Verde government to enable us have a similar institution in the Gambia.” Edrissa Jarjue, Transmission & Distribution Manager National Water Electricity Company (NAWEC)