West Africa Clean Energy Corridor

West Africa has enough renewable energy reserves to provide universal and abundant access to electricity and support the region’s transition to a low-carbon growth path. In July 2013, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government adopted the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy (EREP), which aims to increase the share of renewable energy in the region’s overall electricity mix to 35% by 2020 and 48% by 2030. The figures do not include large-scale hydropower projects, which would have an additional market share of 10% by 2020 and 19% by 2030. ECOWAS also established its Energy Efficiency Policy (EEEP), which aims to make available 2 000 MW of power generation capacity through efficiency gains, and to eventually more than double system-wide energy efficiency compared with 2010 levels. IRENA is helping to expand the regional power market through the West Africa Clean Energy Corridor (WACEC) initiative. This is a collaboration with ECOWAS’s Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), the West African Power Pool (WAPP) and the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) to promote the development of utility-scale renewable power and integrate it into West African power systems. Other organisations involved include the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA), The African Development Bank (AfDB), and other development partners such as Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID). The five main elements to implement are:

  • zoning and resource assessment to identify the best sites for renewable power generation;
  • national and regional planning to identify the most cost-effective renewable power options;
  • enabling frameworks for investment to open markets and reduce financing costs;
  • capacity building to plan, operate and maintain power grids and markets with higher shares of renewables-based electricity; and
  • publicity campaigns to raise awareness of how the corridor can provide secure, sustainable and affordable energy.