July 16, 2014

West Africa: Liberia, Others Have Renewable Energy Policies

A representative from the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREE) has remarked that The Gambia, Cape Verde, Ghana, Liberia, Niger and Senegal have specific Renewable Energy (RE) policies in place. Hyancinth Elayo, a Cape Verde national made the disclosure to delegates at the recently concluded 3rd National Renewable Energy (RE) dialogue forum. The two-day synergy with the theme; Policy for Small Scale Renewable Energy Regulation', which was jointly organized by PURA and NARUC, was held at a local hotel in Kololi last week.

He said 12 out of the 15 ECOWAS member states refer to Renewable Energy in their Energy Policies or Electricity bills, while three other member states in Cote D'Ivoire, Guinea Bissau and Togo do not address Renewable Energy in their Energy Policies or Electricity Bill.

According to Elayo, Guinea Bissau is however developing an Energy Master Plan, which will consider Renewable Energy as an option, while 8 Member States, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote D'Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo do not have in place or at draft stage a specific Renewable Energy policy. "10 of the 15 ECOWAS member states except for Burkina Faso, Guinea Conakry, Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and Togo have grid-connected Renewable Energy targets and all the ECOWAS member states that do not have established targets also do not have specific RE policies or laws in place," he informed delegates. He added that, except for Liberia, all the other ECOWAS member states have some schemes and/or incentives, to promote the adoption of Renewable Energy, while Burkina Faso and Cape Verde have payment of credits, based on Renewable Energy production. He noted that Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal have feed-in-tariffs in place, while The Gambia has feed-in-tariff at a draft stage. According to him, Mali has a bio fuel obligation and Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal have competitive bidding funds and or public investment loans for development of Renewable Energy, adding that most of the ECOWAS member states have some sort of financial incentives, such as tax exemptions for import of RE equipment and/or tax breaks and/or reduced tax for RE investment or are in the process of creating them. 

Elayo added that all the 15 ECOWAS member states have some type of schemes or incentives to promote energy access, through Renewable Energy. He then noted that energy access in these countries is promoted either by tendering and grants, mostly through funds directed at rural electrification; Renewable Energy projects, or subsidies, and or by financial incentives for Renewable Energy equipment, such as tax exemptions for import of RE equipment and/or tax breaks and/or tax reduction for renewable energy investment or are in the process of being created. He said currently there are ECOWAS countries that do not have RE policies in place, while some current RE policies still require revision, if they are to achieve the desired objectives, thus the establishment of new RE policies/plans or revision current RE policies/plans would be best achieved, through the development of the National Renewable Energy Action Plans (NREAP) to national legislation.

Elayo said most of the policies and plans currently in place are not comparable - having different categories and units for measurements. He then stated that, it is necessary to harmonize energy policies and laws to ensure effective implementation, noting that ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy (EREP) contains a set of regional and national activities that must be implemented.

He further stated that, 'Action 2 of the EREP stipulates that each ECOWAS member state will develop NREAP and develop/revisit their National Renewable Energy Policies (NREPs). "Each member state will develop or confirm a set of national targets for renewable energy applications, according to their detailed resources assessment and their grid capacity to connect renewable energy over the time period," he added.

ECREEE according to Elayo, was mandated by the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of States and governments to ensure the implementation of the regional RE policy and to achieve the regional targets by 2020 and 2030, developed a Regional Implementation and Monitoring Framework for the Development, Adoption, Execution of the NREAPs and NREPs in the 15 ECOWAS member states.

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