The Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS) Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) has published the results of its first call for proposals for the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Facility (EREF) and intends to award 41 projects in 15 countries with an overall grant amount of €1 million.
The ECOWAS Renewable Energy Facility (EREF) is managed by the Secretariat of the ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) based in Praia, Cape Verde. The Facility was established with initial support of the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC), the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) and technical assistance of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
ECREEE is a specialised Agency of ECOWAS which aims at the establishment of regional renewable energy and energy efficiency markets by supporting various activities to mitigate existing technical, financial, economic, legal, institutional and capacity related barriers. These activities include the creation of policy and regulatory frameworks, capacity development, awareness raising and knowledge management as well as business and investment promotion.
The ECOWAS Renewable Energy Facility (EREF) targets small and medium scale renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and businesses in peri-urban and rural areas of West Africa. Proposals covering one or more ECOWAS countries were eligible for selection including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. This first call for proposals focused on investment promotion to support pre-investment activities such as strategic studies, site assessments, financial project structuring and the installation of small-scale pilot projects in rural communities.
“With the Facility, we are aiming to mitigate existing financial barriers for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and businesses in rural and peri-urban areas of West Africa”, explains Mr. Kappiah. The rural markets provide manifold investment and business opportunities due to the unserved demand for modern energy services and the currently untapped renewable energy potentials. Presently, only about 8% of the rural population in West Africa has access to electricity and other modern forms of energy services. Electricity networks are often not developed and serve mainly urban centres. The transportation of fossil fuels to remote areas is often very costly and rural communities have to pay higher prices for energy services compared to the population in cities. The poor are particularly vulnerable to price fluctuations such as the recent price escalation of oil based products.
The list of approved proposals from the first call include:
- a biogas rural electrification programme in Benin
- creating commercial community enterprises through the promotion of fuel efficient stoves and biomass briquettes in the Gambia
- promotion of solar energy to mitigate climate change and promote sustainable development in Ghana
- Solar kits with an innovative payment method in Mali
- A solar micro PV off-grid project to provide electricity services in Uniarho Community, Nigeria
- Solar water heating services for peri-urban health centres in Sierra Leone