In recent years, the ECOWAS Commission has gradually taken steps to mainstream RE&EE into its regional activities and policies. The experience of the European Union (EU) has shown that regional integration can be a useful tool to facilitate the adoption and implementation of RE&EE policies and incentive schemes on national levels (e.g. EU Directive with binding renewable energy targets).
The Ouagadougou Declaration, adopted at the ECOWAS Conference for Peace and Security on 12 November 2007 in Burkina Faso, articulated the need to establish a regional Centre to promote RE&EE. At the conference, the Austrian Minister for European and International Affairs and UNIDO pledged support for the creation of such an agency. In 2008 the 61st Session of ECOWAS Council of Ministers adopted the regulation C/REG.23/11/08 and gave the ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) a legal basis.
ECREEE was formally inaugurated with a ceremony conducted by His Excellency José Maria Neves, Prime Minister of Cape Verde, and the President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency James Gbeho, at its headquarters in Praia, Cape Verde, on 6 July 2010.In 2010, the Secretariat of the Centre was established during a six-month preparatory phase in Praia, Cape Verde, with the support of the ECOWAS Commission and the Austrian and Spanish Governments, as well as technical assistance from UNIDO. In 2011 new funding commitments and pledges were received from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Brazil.
ECREEE’s mandate is also perfectly aligned with the broader strategic goals of ECOWAS Vision 2020. It seeks to realize directly two of the components of this vision, namely:
(1) ‘A region that anchors its development on sustainable development, including agricultural and mineral resource development strategy, and on planned agricultural and industrial strategies; a region that develops its infrastructure and makes services accessible to its citizens and enterprises.’
(2) ‘A region that conserves its environment and resources, promotes modes of equitable and sustainable development in economic, social and environmental fields; a region which brings its contribution to bear on resolution of the common problems and challenges confronting the planet.’
At a more specific level, ECREEE’s mission contributes to several goals of the ECOWAS Regional Strategic Plan 2011–2015. These are first of all the:
- Priority Goal 2: ‘Promote Infrastructural Development and a Competitive Business Environment’, Objective 1: ‘Improve Business Environment for a Competitive Private Sector’, in particular, the specific sub-objective 1.1; ‘Strengthen the support for and the development of economic and technological infrastructure such as transportation, water, power, energy, telecommunication and ICT’.
ECREEE also supports the implementation of:
- Priority Goal 3: ‘Sustained Development and Cooperation in the Region’, Objective 1: Promote cooperation among member states for the development of a viable regional infrastructure, in particular, the specific sub-objectives 1.4: ‘Promote provision of efficient, reliable and competitive energy sources to Member States through the common exploitation of traditional and alternative energy sources’ and 5: ‘Promote rural access to affordable energy in the region’.
In 2003, the ECOWAS Energy Protocol envisaged the improvement of energy efficiency and increased use of RE sources. In 2006, the ECOWAS/UEMOA White Paper on access to energy services for populations in rural and peri-urban areas was adopted. It forecasts that at least 20% of new investment in electricity generation should originate from locally available renewable resources, in order to achieve self-sufficiency, reduced vulnerability and sustainable environmental development.
OBJECTIVES OF ECREEE
- The achievement of the targets of the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy (EREP) and the ECOWAS Energy Efficiency Policy (EEEP).
- The objectives of the UN Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4ALL). The initiative aims to achieve three interlinked targets by 2030: universal access to modern, affordable and reliable energy services; doubling the improvement in energy efficiency; doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
- The WAPP Master Plan Scenario which aims at doubling the regional electric generation capacity by 2025 (additional 10.000 MW) primarily through large hydro and gas.
- The ECOWAS White Paper on energy access estimates that at least 20% of new investments in rural electrification should be generated from locally available renewable resources.