Praia, 19 July 2017- Energy experts and senior decision makers from across the ECOWAS region have concluded a three-day Summit in the Senegalese Capital Dakar. The forum dubbed West Africa Power Summit 2017 (WAFPOW17) was designed to tackle some of the most pressing issues confronting the African Power Industry. The Summit was hosted by Vale Media Group, a sub-Saharan African events company on the theme “Meeting the technological, financial and regulatory challenges to ECOWAS energy ambitions”. Delegates are drawn from Ministries of Power and Energy, State Power providers, Public-Private partnerships (PPP), Independent Power Producers (IPP’s) and key solution providers. The Dakar forum discussed key challenges of investments for green energy power initiatives. Other areas discussed include the development of new green power infrastructure, integrating green power assets to ageing grid infrastructure, and regional power pooling amongst others.

The Director Large Generation Projects & Renewables at Senelec, Mr. Issa Dione, made a presentation on the Policy and level of development of renewable energies in the energy mix of Senelec.  He underscored the importance of clean energy production for the protection of the planet by reducing greenhouse gases. Delegates were informed about Senelec's 2016-2030 production plans, the energy resources potential of Senegal and the sub-region, as well as strengths and weaknesses of such a policy in the country.

A representative from SVP Africa, ABB, Mr. Tobias Becker, also made a presentation on theme “the Best Natural Source Yet To Be Leveraged: Africa’s Renewable Power Potential”.  Mr. Becker informed delegates that Africa’s population is expected to grow from 3 to 4 billion over the course of the coming decades and recommended the provision of affordable and clean power supply as key to generate wealth and employment opportunities. He noted that as technology providers, their task should focus on access to clean power supply ranging from bulk transmission of large scale green power from remote grounds to mega cities, as well as small scale off grid solutions to power remote villages.

The meeting also looked into the uniqueness of each countries energy potential such as wind, solar, hydro, gas, and suggested that combining such potentials in shared power pools would result in the provision of clean power in Africa and thus accelerate growth.

The Director General of the National Agency for Renewable Energies (ANER), Mr. Djiby Ndiaye, gave an overview of ANER’s role in the development of the renewable energy sector in Senegal.  With the strengthening of institutional, legislative and regulatory frameworks governing the energy sector in Senegal, ANER is of the view that its understanding of the regulatory, financial and technological challenges would help to promote the development of renewable energy in Senegal.

The President, Stace Electrical BOP Solutions, Normand Lord, dilated on the topic “Renewable and storage energy” Mr. Lord disclosed that Sub-Saharan Africa still needs electricity power and access to new technology for almost 600 million peoples looking for a better life. He argued that this energy shortage also impacts on the sustainability of GDP growth. Mr. Lord noted that over the last few years, the technologies related to the renewable energy sources have improved with efficiency, reliability and cost effectiveness.

The Executive Director, ECREEE, Mr. Mahama Kappiah, dilated on the West Africa Clean Energy Corridor.  Mr. Kappiah informed delegates that the energy system in West Africa is faced with low energy access, insecure energy supply, and growing environmental degradation. He argued that renewable energy potential in West Africa should be more than sufficient to cover the growing demand and reach universal access to electricity, while supporting the region’s transition to a low carbon growth path. Mr. Kappiah said that the West Africa Clean Energy Corridor initiative aims to support the development of utility scale renewable energy based power and integration of renewable energy sources into the West African power systems, and address market barriers through planning, capacity building and de-risking activities.

The role of renewables improving electrification rates through decentralized energy solutions in West Africa was also discussed. The forum discussed issues designed to attract investors in the space of decentralized power generation in Africa and to create an enabling environment, with the appropriate incentives, to incorporate off-grid and decentralized solutions into national energy planning.

“Waste to Energy, the Solution to powering and Greening Africa” was also discussed with the ultimate objective of generating energy in the form of electricity from the primary treatment of waste. This process helps to reduce the number of household that do not have access to Electricity, reduce the volume of waste (mainly organic waste), and reduce Carbon Emission.  

The summit also discussed issues relating to integration of Power Systems in West Africa and the need for a robust power transmission network that would integrate the national power systems of ECOWAS Member States into a singular unified system and allow efficient exchange of power among countries in the region. The energy resource landscape in West Africa is characterized by vast renewable resources that are unequally distributed geographically which could be harnessed to meet the needs of the ECOWAS population for socio-economic development.

Other topics discussed at the summit include hybrid power generation: combining solar PV with diesel and/or batteries to power isolated grids, industries and populations in Africa, Digital Solutions For Growth - how does digitalization represent a unique opportunity to strengthen competitiveness, add value locally and increase sustainable growth in Africa?, Small and Medium Hybrid Renewable Energy System Powering Sustainable Development in West Africa, ensuring Electricity Access To Off-Grid Communities In Ghana - Issues, Challenges and Options, acceleration of the development of renewable energy in West Africa, the role of energy poles in promoting regional integration in Africa, Creating a Pipeline of Bankable Clean Energy Projects. This would enable governments to overcome challenges such as sector planning to ensure grid reliability and supply/demand balance; improving the financial integrity of utility companies; and increasing capacity to integrate independent power producers (IPPs).