The ECOWAS Energy Protocol* seeks to secure regional and efficient supply of electricity and other forms of energy in the region as a means to catalyse economic growth by means of measures to liberalise energy investments and trade in energy, writes Ifey Ikeonu, Acting Chairperson of the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority based in Ghana.
The Protocol recognises the vital role of the private sector in promoting and implementing energy investments and the need to ensure a favourable institutional framework for economically viable investment in energy. Considering the need to ensure the protection of the environment and promote renewable energy, the Protocol also stipulates the need to pursue environmentally friendly projects in realisation of this vision and the necessity of utilising renewable energy sources within the region.
The implementation of the Energy Protocol resulted in the creation of three distinct regional bodies to drive the objectives. These are the West African Power Pool (WAPP), the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) and the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE).
In the case of WAPP, the organisation, set up in 2006, is mandated to increase access to electricity in the region through the implementation of priority generation and transmission projects, with the aim of integrating the national power systems and operations into a unified regional electricity market. The sustainability of this objective requires the development of a comprehensive road map as well as the development of clear technical rules and harmonised electricity planning and operation for the power pool.
In terms of ERERA, the organisation was established in 2008 as a Specialised Institution of ECOWAS with the mandate of regulating cross-border electricity trading among member States and creating a conducive enabling environment to attract private sector investment into the regional electricity market. This requires the enactment of technical and commercial Rules and Regulations to govern the market.
Further to this, ECREEE was established in 2011 as a Specialised Agency of ECOWAS and has the objective of creating a favourable framework condition for a regional renewable energy and energy efficient market to contribute to the sustainable economic, social and environmental development of..