ECOWAS workshop on policy and regulation for clean energy mini-grids and on the Renewable Energy Tariff Toolbox

Abuja, 22/July/2017 – The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) in coordination with EUEI PDF and the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Power and Housing, organized a 6 days’ workshop on policy and regulation for clean energy mini-grids and on the Renewable Energy Tariff Toolbox. This technical workshop was targeted to renewable energy experts, policy makers, regulators, project promoters and investors of all ECOWAS Member States and beyond.

The European Union Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility (EUEI PDF) and the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Power and Housing co-organized the workshop in the Nigerian city of Abuja from July 17th to 22nd 2017. Among other stakeholders, the workshop was planned for renewable energy experts of all ECOWAS Member States, with the agenda of improving the current policy and regulatory frameworks for clean energy mini-grids and the design of renewable energy tariff through the application of appropriate methodologies. More than sixty experts from Ministries in charge of energy, regulators, utilities, rural electrification agencies and private sector attended the event.

The training was seen as a very important step in tackling the energy access problem of the ECOWAS region, considering the fact that only 8% of the people in the rural areas have access to electricity, posing therefore a great challenge to the ECOWAS vision which seeks to provide universal access to the people of the region by 2030.

Achieving universal access to electricity by 2030 is an ambitious goal, and so such path must be built through policy formulation and implementation, capacity development, information & knowledge dissemination, project and investment promotion. Therefore, the training workshop was considered as a crucial step enabling key actors of the ECOWAS Member States to contribute to the vision of universal access to electricity across the region as stated in the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy.

In his opening remarks, H.E. Dr. Morlaye Bangoura, ECOWAS Commissioner for Energy and Mines, reiterated the commitment from the ECOWAS Commission towards the harmonization and coordination of policy frameworks for clean energy mini grids in order to achieve universal access to sustainable energy in the region.

Mr. Kurt Cornelis, representing the European Union Delegation to ECOWAS, highlighted several financing programs and mechanisms such as the European Investment Plan; the Africa Investment Facility with over 32 million Euros to support ECOWAS institutions as ERERA, ECREEE and WAPP. He also spoke about   ElectriFI which will boost the involvement of the Private Sector in the deployment of Clean Energy Mini Grids.

The EUEI PDF Program Manager Mr. Daniel Werner, referred to the existing cooperation between his institution and ECREEE emphasizing the importance of such cooperation in promoting the market of renewables in the sub-region.

In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Louis Edozien encouraged the participants to focus on applicable policy frameworks and contractual regulations for Clean Energy Mini grids that will open the floodgates of investments with private sector involvement in the implementation.  

The first three days of the workshop focused on energy policy frameworks and covered several topics, including setting the environment for public and private promotion, energy and electricity policy, rural electrification strategy and planning, regulations, fiscal policy and financial support schemes, etc. The training provided and excellent platform for constructive group discussions on different experiences of the ECOWAS Member States, showcasing case studies related to rural electrification, tariff systems, concessions, hybridization of mini grids, etc.

The following days focused on the Toolbox for Renewable Energy Tariff setting using cases of the IPP model to calculate a solar feed–in-tariff, the wind speed tool with the IPP model and calculating the avoided cost in the IPP modelling and understanding data requirements to represent  green mini-grid and exploring the methodologies of setting tariffs.

On the last day, the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Power organized a field trip to which provided the opportunity to visit two solar mini-grid projects near Abuja. Participants expressed keen interest to take the experiences to their countries. 

The workshop was aligned with one of the objectives of the ECOWAS program on Access to Sustainable Electricity Services (EPASES), which is to overcome the constraints to the achievement of the off-grid component of rural electrification, limiting the capacity of Member States to expand electricity access to remote rural areas. As stated by the Executive Director of ECREEE, Mr. Mahama Kappiah, “the success of ECOWAS is greatly dependent on the cooperation between member states, which is a mutual learning process”.  

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