The ECOWAS Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE)and ZED SA, signed a partnership agreement to deliver sustainable energy to the region via the 2 GW Solar Initiative, which itself is a sub-component of the West African Clean Energy Corridor (WACEC).
The partnership agreement was officially signed under the hospices of the Ministry of Energy and Water of Mali. Therefore, Mr. Malick Alhousseini, minister of Energy and Water of Mali, served as the chair of the signature ceremony, which magnified the importance of the partnership.
In his opening presentation, Mr. Ibrahima Maiga, CEO of ZED SA, showcased the design of the innovative solar PV power plant with storage, which will be demonstrated through pilot projects in five (5) countries. ZED SA’s aim is to prove that such system is commercially and technically viable in the ECOWAS region so that private sector actors can take ownership of the 2 GW Solar Initiative in order to meet the needs of millions of ECOWAS citizen who still do not have access to electricity. The partnership agreement signed between ECREEE and ZED SA is critical in ensuring the 2 GW Solar Initiative is implemented in an appropriate and optimal manner before it is launched in scale throughout the entire ECOWAS region.
In his introductory remarks Mr. Mahama Kappiah, Executive Director of ECREEE, noted that the The West Africa Clean Energy Corridor (WACEC) 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. He noted that this in line with the ambitions of the region in terms of promoting a viable market for renewable energy and energy efficiency. A brief presentation was given by Mr. Siré Abdoul Diallo, programme coordinator at ECREEE. His presentation highlighted ECREEE’s mandate and achievements in the region since its establishment in Praia, Cabo Verde by the Authority of the Heads of States and Governments of the ECOWAS at the High-Level Meeting in Accra in 2008.
Honorable Minister Alhousseini, in his closing remarks emphasized the need for the Clean Energy Corridor and its 2 GW Solar component, which he said responds perfectly to the region’s need. He congratulated ZED SA and ECREEE on achieving a milestone in the implementation of the 2 GW Solar programme, by officially signing a partnership agreement. However, he stressed that the wish of the government of Mali, through his ministry is to see solar PV power plant with storage capacity commissioned in the near future.
The partnership agreement in its initial stage aims to prove the technical feasibility and commercial viability of solar PV power plants with storage. In this regards, pilot plants of 5MW will be established in countries. Stakeholders from other ECOWAS member states will be encouraged to visit to allow knowledge and technology transfer. By demonstrating the commercial viability of the technology stakeholders such as the government and the private sector from various member states, ZED and ECREEE aims to fast-track the uptake clean energy in the region.
Mr. Kappiah emphasized the key role of partners such as IRENA, the Islamic Development Bank, AECID, the Austrian government, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the Austrian Ministry of Environment.and the Abu Dhabi Fund in supporting the promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency markets in the ECOWAS.