ECOWAS OBSERVATORY for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency to be launched at High Level Energy Forum

ECREEE and UNIDO are currently implementing the regional GEF project ‘Promoting Coordination, Coherence and Knowledge Management under the Energy Component of the Strategic Programme for West Africa (SPWA)’. The project is co-funded by the Austrian Ministry for European and International Affairs and AECID.To boost knowledge management, networking and advocacy in the areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency, the GEF project foresees the establishment of ECOWREX. The web-based observatory will be managed and updated by the ECREEE Secretariat. It will:• provide and disseminate updated RE&EE market information/data on resources, national policies, projects, financial and tender possibilities as well as key stakeholders in the ECOWASregion;• include interactive GIS maps showing RE&EE potentials, sites and projects;• support decision makers, project developers, investors and other identified enablers with tailored information, data and planning strategies;• facilitate networking and cooperation among local and international experts to share best practices and technical know-how.Through the Observatory, ECREEE and UNIDO will address the existing knowledge and information related barriers for RE&EE investments in the ECOWAS region:• The non-availability of reliable and updated energy information creates a major constraint for investors and project developers in the sector.• The existing country data is, in most cases, not updated and comparable with data of neighbouring countries. Different systems and resource maps exist with various models and data sources.• For investors and industry playere, it is difficult to identify cooperation partners due to the absence of specialized platforms for exchange of information and experiences.• Information on good practices or successful (or unsuccessful) projects is not readily available for decision makers and experts.Given this situation, significant opportunities are lost for sustainable energy development in the region. The ECOWAS region attracts only a small fraction of the US$250b global investment in the renewable energy sector. On the basis of a competitive tender, ECREEE awarded a Spanish company, Cesefor, the contract for the implementation of the online system. All information and data for the Observatory are provided by ECREEE. ECREEE is currently implementing several resource assessments in the areas of wind, solar and biocrops. It is envisaged that ECOWREX will be launched at the ECOWAS-GFSE-UNIDO High Level Energy Forum in October 2012 in Accra, Ghana.