The West African region has a vast renewable energy potential to cover the unmet power demand and reach the universal access to electricity while supporting the region’s transition to a low carbon growth path. In that regard, in July 2013 the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government adopted the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy (EREP) that aims to increase the share of renewable energy in the region’s overall electricity mix to 35% in 2020 and 48% in 2030 (excluding large hydro, to 10% and 19%, respectively). The EREP is complemented with the ECOWAS Energy Efficiency Policy (EEEP) that targets to implement measures that would make available 2000 MW of power generation capacity through efficiency gains and in the long term, more than double the annual improvement in energy efficiency, compared to 2010 levels.
With a view to supporting the creation of a regional power market, IRENA, in collaboration with ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), West African Power Pool (WAPP), and ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA), has initiated the West Africa Clean Energy Corridor (WACEC) initiative. Building on the ongoing efforts in the region, including, those of UEMOA, AfDB, and other development partners such as GIZ and USAID, WACEC will promote the development of utility scale renewable power and its integration to the West African power systems.
As endorsed by the ECOWAS Energy Ministerial in December 2016, and building on the experience of the ACEC, the WACEC’s implementation plan is built on the five pillars of
Zoning and Resource Assessment to identify sites for renewable power generation in areas with high resource potential and suitable transmission routes;
National and Regional Planning to fully consider cost-effective renewable power options;
Enabling Frameworks for Investment to open markets and reduce financing costs;
Capacity Building to plan, operate and maintain power grids and markets with higher shares of renewables-based electricity; and
Public Information and Awareness Raising on how the corridor can provide secure, sustainable and affordable energy.