ECOWAS Small Scale Hydro Power Program (SSHP)

The ECOWAS Small Scale Hydro Power Program was adopted by the ECOWAS Ministers of Energy in October 2012 and will be implemented between 2013 and 2018. The SSHP Program aims to contribute towards increased access to modern, affordable and reliable energy services, energy security and mitigation of negative externalities of the energy system (e.g. GHG emissions, local pollution) by establishing an enabling environment for small-scale hydro power investments and markets in the ECOWAS region. The program is a priority action under the regional SE4ALL Framework for West Africa.

The program was developed based on the results of the five-day ECOWAS Workshop on Small Scale Hydro Power, held from the 16th to 20th of April 2012 at the Golden Gate Hotel, in Monrovia, Liberia. It was jointly organized by the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) in cooperation with the Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme (ESMAP), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Government of Liberia. The workshop helped to define a strategic framework for small scale hydro power development in the ECOWAS region and to formulate a realistic plan of action to address the existing barriers through a regional approach. 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. Based on the results of the workshop a small scale hydropower baseline report and the program document were finalized.

The SSHP Program contributes to the targets of the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy (EREP) to increase the share of renewable energy (excl. large hydro) in the overall electricity mix to around 10% in 2020 and 19% in 2030. These targets translate to the installation of additional 2.425 MW renewable electricity capacity by 2020 and 7.606 MW by 2030. It is estimated that SSHP could contribute with 787 MW (33%) by 2020 and 2449 MW (32%) by 2030 to this additional capacity. The SSHP program also contributes to the objectives of the ECOWAS White Paper on Energy Access in Peri-Urban and Rural areas. It is expected that in 2030 around 25% of the rural population will be served either fully or partly through renewable energy powered mini-grids. The SSHP program complements the WAPP Master Plan which is mainly focused on the expansion of transmission line and generation from large hydro power and natural gas.

The ECOWAS SSHP Program aims at four major outcomes:

  1. Policy and regulatory SSHP frameworks are strengthened
  2. Capacities of different SSHP market enablers are strengthened and applied
  3. Knowledge management and awareness raising on SSHP is strengthened
  4. SSHP investments and businesses are promoted

The program will generate the following key results by 2018:

  1. By 2018, at least 35 projects (new projects or rehabilitations) in different ranges of capacity up to 30 MW are developed to financial closure.
  2. At least 5 SSHP projects (< 100 kW) are operating and - during their planning and implementation - have served as demonstration projects for capacity building.
  3. At least 2 refurbishment/rehabilitation projects (< 200 kW) are identified and realised.
  4. At least 10 companies started to provide various SSHP related services (planning, operation, repair etc.).
  5. Bottlenecks of SSHP project implementation and operation, of current policies and legal frameworks and roles and shortcomings of relevant stakeholders are understood and recommendations for improvement are elaborated and discussed.
  6. ECOWAS countries obviously improved their legal framework (poverty reduction impact of SSHP in evidence in the legal framework, feed-in tariff defined, transparent licensing procedure etc.) and SSHP has become integral part of ECOWAS/WAPP planning documents.
  7. A capacity development strategy is elaborated and SSHP initiatives and projects increasingly rely on local expertise from public and private sector (with limited international support).
  8. Quality guidelines are introduced during trainings and are generally applied for development and implementation of SSHP projects.
  9. Facilitate open knowledge sharing on SSHP aspects through the ECOWAS Observatory for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECOWREX) and the provided tools and contents are utilised.
  10. An information base on relevant SSHP resources and sites is created and helps to facilitate the development and implementation of SHP programmes and projects.
  11. A communication strategy disseminating achieved progress and raising awareness about SSHP opportunities is developed and implemented.
  12. ECREEE is established as centre of excellence in the SSHP sector.

The SSHP Program will be managed by the ECREEE Secretariat in close partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and other partners. UNIDO will create synergies to the SSHP mini-grid projects of the GEF Strategic Program for West Africa (SPWA). The partners will be responsible for the administration of the program (e.g. project cycle management, appraisal and quality assurance of supported projects, financial accountability). The program management team, consisting of an international program manager, local technical SSHP experts and administrative assistants, will implement the activities according to the project document and annual work plans. To stimulate the market most of the activities will be executed by private implementers contracted through competitive tenders or call for proposals.

The SSHP Program is governed by the ECREEE Executive Board (EB) and a special Technical Committee (TC) formed by local and international SSHP experts. The bodies will review and approve the annual work plans, budgets progress and financial reports of the program. Moreover, strategic steering and technical assistance for supported projects will be provided. The SSHP program will benefit fully from the established ECREEE network of National Focal Institutions (NFIs) in all ECOWAS countries. The budget requirement to implement the envisaged first phase of the ECOWAS SSHP Program amounts to around 15,5 million Euro for the period 2013 to 2018. The program is seeking support from donor partners. Further information is available in the full project document of the SSHP Program.