ECOWAS Renewable Energy Facility (EREF) approves 41 sustainable energy projects with an overall volume of 3 million EUR

 The Technical Committee of the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Facility (EREF) for rural and peri-urban areas approved 41 projects with an overall volume of €3m. The facility, which is managed by ECREEE with technical assistance from UNIDO, will co-fund the selected projects with a €1m from the Spanish Agency for International Development (AECID) and the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC).Mr. Mahama Kappiah, ED of ECREEE, stressed the social and economic relevance of the EREF projects. ‘We tried to keep a balance between the size and needs of the countries and different RE&EE technology solutions’, explained Mr Kappiah. He noted that the high demand for decentralized renewable energy solutions in rural and peri-urban areas was creating a vibrant space for investments and business. The ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy is aimed at the installation of around 130,000 mini-grids by 2030.Some examples for EREF projects are: biogas systems to provide cooking or electricity services for villages or rural health centres, a Jatropha plantation for the local production and use of biofuel, PV water pumping, off-grid PV lighting, small-scale CSP for rural electrification, solar thermal systems for warm water heating in hotels and health centres, wind power for the operation of desalination systems, local production and marketing of improved biomass stoves, CSP, SSHP potential studies and training for energy efficiency in buildings.The EREF’s first call for proposals was successful and reflected the high demand for sustainable energy solutions in rural areas of the ECOWAS region. The call was opened from 31 May–31 July 2011. ECREEE received 166 concept notes with a grant request of around €8m.The most active countries were Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana and Cape Verde. Over 70% of the proposals were submitted by applicants from the private sector (e.g. companies and non-governmental organizations). Eighty-two per cent of the proposals were submitted under the financing window of investment promotion and 18% under the financing window of business development. Over 50% of the projects focused on solar (PV, CSP and solar thermal) as well as bioenergy solutions (particularly biogas and improved stoves). SSHP and wind power received minor attention.All project results will be disseminated through the ECOWAS Observatory for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECOWREX). ECREEE is currently seeking donor funding to launch a second call for proposals. A detailed report on the first call for proposals as well as the trilingual EREF guidelines is available at web portal