Distance-learning programme on sustainable energy for West African experts of utilities, regulators and IPPs, Application deadline: 22 September 2013

The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in cooperation with the Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) in New York and the Engineering Department of the University of Cape Verde (UNICV) in Mindelo, Sao Vicente, are executing an innovative certified distance-learning programme for building capacities of West African experts in the fields of sustainable energy systems and solutions. Applications are invited from qualified experts from West Africa who meet the professional and academic qualifications, to apply for a certificate programme on sustainable energy solutions to be conducted by the Columbia University.

Target Group and eligible applicants:

The first round of this programme will train ten (10) young West African experts currently employed by utilities, regulators or independent power producers (IPPs) in the areas of renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency and energy policy planning. The overall objective is to strengthen the long-term capabilities of these institutions and companies to design and appraise projects, integrate renewable energy and energy efficiency into their planning, operational and monitoring cycles and contribute to strengthening of policy framework at the national level. Recent studies and reports by various organizations including ECREEE and UNIDO have revealed that lack of capacity, knowledge and awareness on the technical feasibility and economics of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies and systems is still a major barrier for scaling up clean technologies and investments in the electricity sector of West African countries.

International and Regional Context:

The certificate programme on Sustainable Energy Solutions is directed towards the three objectives of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4ALL): (1) ensuring universal access to modern energy services; (2) doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, and (3) doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency. Energy issues facing society are seen as one of the biggest technological and policy challenge of the century. The fifteen Energy Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have adopted the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy (EREP) and the ECOWAS Energy Efficiency Policy (EEEP) during the High Level Energy Forum, which took place from 29 to 31 October 2012 in Accra, Ghana. The policies aim at making SE4ALL a reality in West Africa by 2013 and include minimum targets and scenarios for RE&EE and a broad range of measures, standards and incentives to be implemented at regional and national levels. To implement these regional policies there is an urgent need to strengthen the capacities of key institutions/companies in the power sector on sustainable energy issues.

The ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy (EREP) aims at the following objectives:

The share of renewable energy (incl. large hydro) of the overall electricity mix of the ECOWAS region will increase to 35% in 2020 and 48% by 2030.

  • The share of new renewable energy such as wind, solar, small scale hydro and bioelectricity (excl. large hydro) will increase to around 10% in 2020 and 19% by 2030. These targets translate to an additional 2.425 MW renewable electricity capacity by 2020 and 7.606 MW by 2030.
  • To provide universal access to energy services it is envisaged that around 75% of the rural population will be served through grid extensions and around 25% by renewable energy powered by mini-grids and stand-alone hybrid systems by 2030.
  • By 2020, the whole ECOWAS population will have access to improved cooking facilities either through improved stoves or fuel switching to other modern forms of energy such as LPG.
  • The share of ethanol/biodiesel in transport fuels will increase to 5% in 2020 and 15% by 2030.
  • By 2030, around 50% of all health centers, 25% of all hotels and agro-food industries with hot water requirements will be equipped with solar thermal systems.

The ECOWAS Energy Efficiency Policy (EEEP) aims at the following objectives:

by 2013, create the institutional basis for five priority regional initiatives, with the following concrete objectives:

    • lighting: phase out inefficient incandescent bulbs by 2020;
    • electricity distribution: reduce electricity distribution losses from the current level of 15 -40% to under 10% by 2020;
    • cooking: achieve universal access to safe, clean, affordable, efficient and sustainable cooking for the entire population of ECOWAS, by 2030;
    • standards and labels: establish an ECOWAS Technical Committee for Energy Efficiency Standards and Labelling, and adopt initial region-wide standards and labels for major energy equipment by end 2014;
    • finance: create instruments for financing sustainable energy, including carbon finance, by the end of 2013;
  • by 2015, begin implementation in each ECOWAS country at least one of the priority initiatives;
  • by 2016, implement measures that free 2 000 MW of power generation capacity: the equivalent of creating forty virtual EE power plants, with a capacity of 50MW each, available to power development, serving new users and new needs;
  • In the long term, more than double the annual improvement in energy efficiency, so as to attain levels comparable to those of world leaders such as China. This would mean that each year, the amount of energy needed to produce a certain amount of goods and services would decrease by about 4% .

Click for more information on the course structure and how to apply. Application deadline is 1 November 2013.