Capacity Building for Open Solar Contracts in West African Countries

While energy is acknowledged as the backbone of every economy, currently energy poverty still prevalent in the ECOWAS region, with only 55.5% of the population having access to grid electricity in 2020 (ECREEE) and with traditional biomass accounting for 80% of the domestic energy needs. The main challenges facing the ECOWAS’ energy market include the constant deficit in production and transmission of electricity, high electricity prices, high reliance on hydrocarbon resources putting a significant strain on public finance and leaving states highly exposed to oil price and supply volatility, as well as negative environmental impacts, and lack of adequate investment in clean energy. If not properly addressed, the lack of access to energy will indeed continue to hamper progress on meeting the Sustainable Energy Goals (SDGs).

Nevertheless, the ECOWAS region consisting of fifteen (15) sovereign nations, in addition to Mauritanua, has vast renewable energy resources that can be harnessed for the benefits of a regional sustainable energy power market for economic growth, prosperity, and environmental sustainability.

The overarching objective of the workshop was to empower the participants with the practical skills and confidence to utilise the OSC and to have a strong position and understanding when using the OSC in the procurement of affordable solar power. At the completion of the workshop the attendees should have the practical skills and knowledge to clearly identify and mitigate contractual risks and to defend the contractual position of their respective Governments in the procurement of affordable solar energy and to prepare an OSC set of Implementation Agreement and PPA for their countries.

The capacity building workshop was realised as a two-day online workshop, on 14-15 of November 2022. The workshop included a combination of informative presentations, case study analyses, interactive exercises and question and answer (Q&A) discussion sessions.

The first day started with an introduction to the OSC and focused on identification of potential risks in a PPA and implementation agreement, and subsequently how the implementation agreement and the PPA can mitigate those risks. The participants had the chance to learn how to build a multistakeholder dialogue and cooperation to reduce costs and increase value in affordable solar power procurement, understand contingent liability notion and impact, as well as evaluate the impact of non-sale risk and how to avoid transforming risk of loss into certainty of loss.

At the end of the first day the participants were tasked to read through the OSC carefully in order to prepare for the second day where the acquired learnings were applied to discuss PPAs and implementation agreements of their own countries.

During the second day, through an interactive discussion, the participants discussed and proposed amendments to the OSC, worked out improvements and designed an implementation pathway.

The proposed participants were delegates from the participating jurisdictions, who are involved in the “day-to-day” negotiations and strategy in relation to the procurement of solar energy. The workshop was geared to the foregoing rather than senior management.

By invitation only.