8 July 2010 – The Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) has been formally opened in Praia, Cape Verde, as a regional center to help develop renewable energy and energy efficiency markets in West Africa.
The center, a specialized agency of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), also will assist in policy and capacity development and quality assurance, designing financing mechanisms, and implementing demonstration projects with potential for regional scaling-up.
ECREEE is supported by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the governments of Austria, Cape Verde and Spain. In addition, support for ECREEE’s activities will come through a special partnership between Brazil and ECOWAS, which will open up opportunities for south-south cooperation and technology and know-how transfer.
The executive director of ECREEE is Mahama Kappiah, who was previously head of the ECOWAS Energy Division for Energy Access and Renewable Energy, and has been involved in several major regional projects, including the West African Gas Pipeline Project, the West African Power Pool and the regional electricity regulation authority.
ECREEE also will become the main implementing agency of a US$150 million program developed by UNIDO focusing on energy access and energy efficiency for 18 countries in West Africa (including the ECOWAS member states).
Estimates suggest that only about 16 percent of the 23,000 MW hydroelectric potential in ECOWAS member states has been exploited. The region also has vast solar energy potential, and there is considerable wind, tidal, ocean thermal and wave energy resources available, as well as good potential for all forms of bioenergy.