ECREEE and the International Re­newable Energy Agency (IRENA) organized a regional workshop on Energy Planning Methodologies and Tools in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire from 10–12 December 2012.

The workshop aimed to acquaint en­ergy planners in the region with appropri­ate methodologies, using the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Planning model devel­oped by IRENA, based on the MESSAGE modelling tool (software developed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to support national governments in energy planning).

The workshop was part of the joint ECREEE–IRENA initiative- Promoting a Sustainable Market for PV Systems in the ECOWAS Region (ProSPER)- with a focus on capacity building to foster renewable en­ergy development in the region. The work­shop was also part of the ECOWAS training programme on Energy Planning Support for the Elaboration of Renewable Energy Ac­tion Plans for ECOWAS Member States, organized by ECREEE in collaboration with its partners.

The targeted participants were profes­sional staff from the planning units at min­istries and electricity utilities. Thirty partici­pants attended the workshop, most of them senior staff from their respective energy planning units who also had experience in energy planning models and analysis tools. The participants came from 13 ECOWAS Member States, specifically from the Min­istry of Energy as well as the national elec­tricity utility.

During the two-and-a-half days, partici­pants learned the basics of the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Planning Tool (EREP) as well as how to use the MESSAGE tool to run the simulation and channel results into EREP. They were able to run their own country simulation and compare different scenarios.

The main outcome of the workshop was the acknowledgement that EREP was a tool that could play a useful role in energy planning. The availability of EREP is excep­tionally timely as Member States, following the adoption of the regional renewable energy policy, are working on the develop­ment of their national renewable energy ac­tion plans (NREAP) in an effort to achieve the regional targets.