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EC, ECOWAS sign regional energy project agreement

Oct 13, 2011, 1:03 PM

The European Union and the ECOWAS commission have signed a contract agreement for an ECOWAS regional energy efficiency project.

The 1.5 million Euro project dubbed “Supporting Energy Efficiency for Access in West Africa-SEEA-WA” would be implemented by the ECOWAS regional center for renewable energy and energy efficiency-ECREEE between 2011 and 2014. 

The SEEA-WA project aims to create an enabling environment for energy efficiency technologies and solutions by addressing existing policy, institutional and capacity problems confronting the energy sector.

The project also seeks to establish a regional energy efficiency network of centres in ECOWAS member countries, as well as develop an ECOWAS energy efficiency bench mark including “minimum performance standards” and energy efficiency labels particularly for appliances and buildings.

The Executive Director of ECREEE Mahama Kappiah said the project was in response to the call by African heads of state for urgent intervention to alleviate the current power crisis in the region.

He decried the high level energy loses in the West Africa power sector and stressed the need to improve  the quality of appliances, buildings, industry and power generation and transmission.

Mr Kappiah attributed peak loads, power cuts and load shedding in urban centres to the import of low quality appliances and unsustainable building practices.

According to reports the project would facilitate training activities and regional awareness campaign on the socio-economic and environmental benefits of energy efficiency solutions and practices.

A five day regional training for Forty-five professionals from Energy ministries and Universities of ECOWAS member states was recently held in Kumasi Ghana. The theme of the forum was “energy access planning and financial analysis of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects”.  It was organized by the ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency-ECREEE in partnership with UN Industrial Development Organization-UNIDO and the Technology Energy Centre of Kuwame Nkurumah University of Science and technology-TEC-KNUST. In his opening address the Director of TEC-KNUST Professor Abeiku Brew-Hammond underscored his institution’s readiness to serve as a center of excellence for sustainable energy issues in West Africa. Ibrahim Soumaila of ECREEE for his part dilated on the importance of energy planning tools to boosting rural electrification and the dissemination of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. He assured ECREEE’s commitment to the promotion of green energy planning tools. Participants were trained on the energy access planning strategies and technical and financial structuring of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. According to reports the “energy access planning strategy” has successfully worked in Ghana and is of high relevance to energy planners in other ECOWAS member countries with low electricity access rates. Experts at the workshop cited lack of knowledge on how to determine the technical and financial feasibility of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects as major obstacles to green investments in the ECOWAS region.