Unleashing West Africa’s renewable energy potential: Reports on solar and wind opportunities

January 2014

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) presents two reports demonstrating its ground-breaking renewable energy resource-assessment tool, concentrating on the region of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS):

Together, these two reports from IRENA present the first concrete demonstration of the Global Atlas for Renewable Energy at regional level. In each case, set of maps was created, highlighting areas of opportunity for both grid-connected and off-grid power, based in one case on solar energy and in the other on wind energy. The innovative approach to presenting renewable resource potential was developed with an international consortium of institutes.

The purpose of the maps is not to provide a definitive assessment of the suitability of particular areas, but rather to show the capabilities of spatial planning techniques for high-level zoning based on simplified assumptions. The next steps in such a process would involve organising a discussion with energy authorities, planners and rural electrification agencies, in order to review and amend the selected parameters, reconcile the outcomes with the reality, and start working towards a consensus on mapping the areas of opportunity.

The results of this demonstration will be disseminated by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) through the Global Atlas and shared with the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE). The project outcomes will represent a contribution of the IRENA Global Atlas to the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) Architecture Implementation Pilot, sixth phase (AIP-6), as a presentation of geospatial data use in the promotion of renewable energy. The Global Atlas is a contribution to Sustainable Energy for All.