Successful ECREEE Workshop on RETScreen and GIS energy planning


The ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the Technology Energy Centre (TEC) of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in cooperation with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) organized a regional training workshop on energy access planning and financial analysis of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. The workshop was held from 22 to 26 August 2011 in Kumasi, Ghana and was attended by 45 professionals from energy ministries and universities of all fifteen ECOWAS countries. The workshop was supported by the EU-Partnership Dialogue Facility (EU-PDF).

In his welcome address, Prof.Abeeku Brew-Hammond, Director of TEC-KNUST, welcomed the participants to the city of Kumasi and expressed his sincere gratitude to ECREEE and all supporters for making the workshop reality. He reemphasized the commitment of the TEC-KNUST to serve as a centre of excellence for sustainable energy issues in the West African region. In his opening speech, Mr. Ibrahim Soumaila, energy efficiency expert at the ECREEE Secretariat, stressed the importance of energy planning tools to boost rural electrification and the dissemination of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. He announced that ECREEE will take lead in the establishment of a regional train-the-trainers network for green energy planning tools. He reminded the participants from universities that the workshop shall lead to concrete follow-up activities in their respective countries in 2012.

The workshop opened with a two-days training on an energy access planning toolkit developed by TEC-KNUST in cooperation with Columbia University. The toolkit was successfully applied in Ghana and provided a comprehensive planning database on the status of electrification in the country. An integrated network planner proposed least cost electrification options for unserved settlements in peri-urban and rural areas. Depending on their proximity to the central grid the planner proposes grid extension or off-grid electrification options. All data generated by the toolkit are GIS base (geographic information systems) and can be accessed through interactive maps. The toolkit is of high relevance for energy planners in other ECOWAS countries with low electricity access rates.

The other three days the workshop focused on the technical and financial structuring of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. The lack of knowledge of local banks, investors, developers, planners and policy makers on how to determine the technical and financial feasibility of such projects is a major barrier for green investments in the ECOWAS region. The participants were introduced to the RETScreen Clean Energy Project Analysis Software. The software is available free-of-charge and gives energy experts the opportunity to design and analyze green projects technically and financially. The West African participants were introduced to the different modules of the software. The program supports all major renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions and provides access to important climate data such as solar radiation, wind speeds etc. The participants made their own calculations and gave estimations for the energy production/savings and financial viability of case studies on the ground. The training concluded with an exam on the last day of the workshop.

Further information on the training is available at: