ECOWAS Workshop validated 5 million Euro Program on Small Scale Hydro Power

Monrovia, 20 April 2012 -The ECOWAS regional workshop on small scale hydro power ended on 20th April 2012 in Monrovia, Liberia. The five day workshop was organized by the ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme (ESMAP) of the World Bank, as well as the Government of Liberia. The workshop was supported by the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECID). 

The event took form of a two day technical meeting to validate the project proposal for the ECOWAS Support Program for Small Scale Hydro Power and a three day capacity building seminar on project development. Around eighty experts from thirteen ECOWAS countries and international organizations attended the workshop, including policy makers, utilities, rural electrification agencies, practitioners, equipment manufacturers, as well as financiers and banks.

The envisaged small hydro program has an indicative volume of 5 million Euro and will be implemented between 2013 to 2018 by ECREEE in cooperation with its partners. The program will feature capacity building workshops, cross-border knowledge and hydrological data sharing, as well as the development of policies and financial schemes. It will promote investment for at least sixty hydro sites of different sizes and will establish a network of excellence for the local development, construction and maintenance of small hydro plants, as well as the production of turbines and spare parts.

In his opening speech, Mr. Mahama Kappiah, Executive Director of ECREEE, highlighted the potential of small scale hydro power to boost universal access to electricity services in the ECOWAS region by 2030. Mr. Kappiah explained that small hydro power is one of the most advanced and flexible sources of renewable energy. It is considered as reliable, low-cost and is independent of the energy price volatility associated with plants using fossil fuels. Mr. Kappiah welcomed the participation of international experts from the world leaders in small hydro power such as Austria, India, Switzerland and Norway.

Mr. Carlton Miller, Deputy Minister for Planning and Human Resource Development, Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, Republic of Liberia, welcomed the participants to the city of Monrovia and stressed the importance of hydro power sources for the socio-economic development of Liberia. The widespread use of small hydro has the potential to reduce the high electricity tariffs in Liberia significantly. In this regard, Mr. Miller called for the establishment of a national committee on hydro development to map out the feasible hydro potentials, to develop a national policy and to establish a special small hydro financing scheme.

The participating ECOWAS experts expressed their support for the small hydro program of ECREEE. It is envisaged that the program will be adopted by the ECOWAS Ministers of Energy during the High Level Forum which will take place from 8 to 10 October 2012 in Ghana, Accra.

Further information and workshop material can be downloaded from 

Salett Noguiera
ECREEE Communication Officer
Tel: +238 2604630