By MoE Comm. Unit
The 28th November 2019 marked another milestone in the renewable energy sector in Sierra Leone as renewable energy stakeholders validated findings of the of the Off-Grid Solar Market Assessment at the Shangri La Complex in Freetown.
The validation workshop was moderated by the Director of Energy, Ing. Benjamin Kamara who also delivered the Minister of Energy’s welcome and keynote address. He first outline the mandate of the Ministry of energy which oversees and directs all forms of energy in Sierra Leone, adding that energy varies from that of the thermal generators, solar, wind, biomass, hydro as nonrenewable energy and renewable energy respectively. The Director of Energy furthered that Sierra Leone has a huge potential for renewable energy across the country – with high level of rain fall, rivers and abundant sun shine. So there is an anticipated solar energy of about 5 MW by 2021 nationwide taking into consideration the current REEP Mini Grids project, Solar Street Lights, Barefoot women’s Project and WHH Project across the country. He also spoke of the 6 MW Solar Park project at Newton.
On the challenges, Director Kamara highlighted the transmission and distribution network which he said is not in good shape and needs immediate intervention from partners to make electricity accessible to the people especially in the provinces.
Mr. Sam Zoker as Vice President of the Renewable Energy association of Sierra Leone (REASL) made a statement on the establishment and functions of REASL. He also highlighted the association’s numerous challenges.
In his statement, Mr. Collins Osae, the consultant who also represented ECREEE at the validation workshop started with the creation of ECREE in 2010 in order to response to the energy poverty crisis faced by the West African Region. It was a strategic decision by West African leaders under the auspices of the ECOWAS commission to strive to reduce the daunting energy deficit and to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Region. Since it inception in 2010, ECREEE has played an active role in developing Region-wide policies related to clean energy and energy efficiency as well as in facilitating awareness and investment and business promotion while also assisting with building capacity for renewable energy in the Region.
The ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy aims at increasing the share of renewable energy in the Region’s overall electricity Mix to 40 % by 20130. ECREEE’s Strategic Plan for the period 2017 – 2021 focuses on leading the efforts of West African Community to realize its vision of Universal access to reliable and affordable energy by 2030.
The Renewable Off-Grid Energy Project (ROGEP) according to consultant Osae, has a membership of 15 ECOWAS states and 4 Non-ECOWAS States of Cameroun, Chad, Central African Republic and Mauritania. ECREEE is the technical implementing body and the financiers are the West African development Bank (BOAD), World Bank and the Government of Netherlands respectively.
Mr. Osae then delivered presentations in segments on the findings followed by questions and clarifications from renewable energy stakeholders at the workshop. The assessment stage comprised of 4 tasks dealt with and recommendations from stakeholders climaxed the validation workshop.