Energy directors from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have agreed upon the ECOWAS Regional Efficient Lighting Strategy expected to be endorsed by country Energy Ministers in September, 2014. The validation workshop was hosted in Dakar by ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), the government of Dakar and the en.lighten initiative.
Senegal is championing the regional efficient lighting initiative and announced the launch of a roadmap for the fifteen ECOWAS countries to accelerate the transition to energy efficient lighting. The roadmap establishes an integrated policy approach for the rapid and sustainable transition to efficient lighting in the ECOWAS region, by 2020. This includes the harmonization of minimum energy performance standards for both grid and off-grid lighting products.
The strategy contributes to the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative in the region by helping governments and utilities manage electricity demand, reduce their carbon emissions and contribute to greater access to modern, reliable and affordable energy services.
In West Africa, approximately sixty per cent of the 300 million people in the region lack access to an efficient, modern and safe electrical system. According to a UNEP assessment (2013), ECOWAS countries could save more than US$ 4 billion per year if a full transition to efficient lighting was realized. The shift to energy efficient light sources in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors would result in savings of 2.43 terrawatt hours of annual electricity consumption, which translates to over twelve kilotonnes of carbon emissions and almost 4 billion liters of kerosene.
A series of regional consultative meetings were launched in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in April 2013. Since then, four expert groups were formed to address issues such as: minimum energy performance standards; supporting policies; monitoring, verification and enforcement activities; and the environmentally sound management of lighting products. Along with the countries, representatives from the UNDP, standards organizations, civil society groups, and private sector partners (Osram and Philips), have been involved in the process to identify key strategic priorities.