For information only - not an official document

6 July 2010

Re-issued as received

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Centre for West Africa Opens with UNIDO Support

VIENNA/PRAIA, 6 July (UN Information Service) - A new regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) opened in Praia/ Cape Verde today.

It will help develop renewable energy and energy efficiency markets in West Africa, in policy and capacity development and quality assurance, in designing financing mechanisms, and implementing demonstration projects with potential for regional scaling-up.

ECREEE is a specialized agency of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). It is supported by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Governments of Austria, Cape Verde and Spain. Brazil has also indicated support for the activities of ECREEE, which will bring opportunities for South-South Cooperation.

"The current energy systems in the ECOWAS region are failing to support the growth prospects of the over 262 million inhabitants, especially the needs of the poor. The creation of ECREEE is a central milestone in efforts to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies and services in the region," said the Deputy to UNIDO Director-General, Yoshiteru Uramoto, who took part in the opening ceremony.

"Investing in renewable energy systems and introducing energy efficient technologies will contribute to the region's economic and social development without harming the environment."

Estimates suggest that a total of 23,000 MW of large and small hydroelectric potential is concentrated in five of the ECOWAS Member States, of which only 16 per cent has been exploited. There is good potential for all forms of bioenergy. Traditional biomass is already the main source of energy for the poor majority and accounts for 80 per cent of total energy consumed for domestic purposes. There are also considerable wind, tidal, ocean thermal and wave energy resources available. The region has vast solar energy potential.

UNIDO has a number of projects in Africa where renewable energy sources like small hydro, biomass gasification, wind energy, solar thermal and photovoltaic energy are used to promote the development of small industries, particularly in rural areas, that contribute to growth and poverty reduction.

UNIDO has also developed an energy programme for 18 countries in West Africa (including all ECOWAS Member States), funded by the Global Environment Facility. ECREEE will become the main implementing agency of the USD 150 million programme that will focus on the energy access agenda and energy efficiency in key sectors of the economy.

The opening ceremony was attended by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Cape Verde, José Maria Neves; the President of the Government of the Canary Islands, Paulino Rivero Baute; the President of the ECOWAS Commission, James Victor Gbeho; and Austrian and Spanish Ambassadors, Gerhard Doujak and Manuel José Villavieja Vega.

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Please visit the website of the new Centre at

For more information, please contact:

Mikhail Evstafyev
UNIDO Press Secretary
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-7329


Martin Lugmayr
Renewable Energy Expert
ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE)
Telephone: (+238) 26046-3034