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ECOWAS Status Report - Endnotes

| 70 TheECOWASregionisendowedwithtremendousrenewableenergy resource potential. Countless opportunities exist for deploying solar, wind, hydropower, and biomass technologies across the 15 Member States. Renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies have rapidly become cost effective solutions for overcoming the diverse array of energy challenges currently facing ECOWAS, including: large unelectrified populations, unmet demand, heavy reliance on traditional biomass, and dependence on fossil fuel imports. These technologies also allow the region to build an energy resilient system that prepares Member States for future energy challenges such as rising demand, increasing cost of fossil fuels, deforestation, and the potential impacts of climate change. Recognising this, the 15 ECOWAS Member States are rapidly emerging as global leaders in renewable energy and energy efficiency, facilitating dedicated programs, policies, and investments at the regional and national levels. Adoption of the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy (EREP) and the ECOWAS Energy Efficiency Policy (EEEP) in 2012 marks a tremendous achievement, setting the region on a clear path toward achieving an ambitious set of goals. Ongoing efforts to translate regional strategies into National Renewable Energy Action Plans will galvanise and solidify national commitments, ensuring that every Member State is supported in its efforts to achieve this ambitious transition. Renewable energy deployment is beginning to accelerate across the region. Hydropower—both large and small scale—has long made up a significant share of the region’s electricity mix. Increasingly, however, variable renewable sources such as solar and wind have generated interest among both public and private actors. Cabo Verde has established itself as a regional leader in renewable energy, with 26 MW and 6.4 MW of grid-connected wind and solar capacity respectively. Cabo Verde’s accomplishments reflect the strong and consistent support it has provided to the sector, establishing progressive policies including the region’s only net metering scheme. Distributed solar PV systems—well suited for rural electrification efforts—are already widespread in ECOWAS Member States, including Senegal, which has an estimated 21 MW installed distributed capacity nationwide. National governments, local NGOs, and international aid agencies are promoting distributed solar technologies as a way to power community centres, health clinics, and individual homes. Solar lanterns are providing basic lighting services to rural communities, while both solar and wind are being used to power for water pumping. Modern biomass is also a significant part of the region’s energy mix and is used particularly by industry as self-generation. Despite the growing prevalence of off-grid systems, reliable, consistent tracking and reporting of the full scope of projects and initiatives across the region is still lacking. Despite impressive development in recent years, investment in the sector remains sporadic, and while all ECOWAS Member States now have either a renewable energy support policy or a target in place at the national level, increased policy and financial support will be critical in scaling-up renewable energy deployment region-wide. In addition to new renewable generation, energy efficiency remains one of the most cost effective means of meeting the region’s energy needs. Despite the tremendous opportunities that exist for significant cost and energy savings across a number of areas— including lighting, appliances, electricity distribution, cooking, and buildings—energy efficiency has gotten comparatively little attention from policymakers, investors, and project developers. While domestic programmes and international initiatives—such as the UNEP/GEF en.lighten initiative—have laid the groundwork for future improvements, significant progress remains to be made in targeted areas such as reducing electricity losses, improving lighting efficiency, and reducing energy use in buildings across ECOWAS. Countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal have taken a leading role in phasing out the use of inefficient equipment by enacting bans on their manufacture, sale or importation, or by establishing Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for lighting, air conditioning, and refrigeration products. Expanded standards and the adoption of additional policies such as energy efficient building codes can help Member States further reduce energy use. Through their commitment to developing renewable energy and energy efficiency across the region, ECOWAS Member States have taken a proactive role in ensuring their ability to address current energy sector challenges while simultaneously building a resilient system that prepares the region to effectively meet future energy needs. While the national and regional actions taken to date have established a strong baseline for future growth, continued support and increased investment in the region’s sustainable energy sector will be needed to ensure that this ambitious vision comes to fruition. 06 CONCLUSION

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