Representatives from the private sector in The Gambia and other agencies are learning how to finance operations and develop mini-grids.
A mini-grid is an off-grid electric distribution network involving small-scale electricity generation.
The four-day workshop is organized by ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the Government of The Gambia trough the Ministry of petroleum and energy.
Addressing the seminar, Baboucar Njie, project manager of ECREEE said the goal of universal access to energy in the ECOWAS region by 2030 is an achievable one. “The electricity access rate of over 50% clearly shows a positive trend, although I think we have the potential to make rapid progress if we make the right policy choices; with more involvement of the public and private sectors in diversifying energy supply thereby harnessing our abundant renewable energy resources to improve access to energy. This is an urgent imperative, as less than half of the ECOWAS population have access to electricity,” he told the participants.
He also disclosed that decentralized electrification is the most appropriate and cost-effective solution to allow these rural areas to have the fastest and longest-lasting access to electricity services, principally because of the availability of renewable resources and the rapid decline in the costs of renewable energy technologies.
“The ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency registered positive efforts in creating an enabling environment for sustainable energy investments in general and electricity access in particular. In 2013, the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Governments adopted the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy (EREP) that aims to increase the share of renewable energy in the region’s overall electricity mix by 35% in 2020 and 48% in 2030,” he said.
Kemo Ceesay, director of Energy thanked ECREEE and other partners for the workshop and urged the participants to make full use of the training underway at Metzy Hotel.