Chief Investment Office and Energy Efficiency Expert, African Development Bank
Following the COVID-19 crisis, a new look is essential today to reorganize priorities and ensure better resilience to protect against any future hazards, particularly those affecting the production and consumption of energy.
Re-thinking resources planning is essential to ensure better use with increased efficiency and effectiveness.
For the last decades, the support and assistance related to energy efficiency (EE) to African countries through international and development institutions have continuously increased. However, referring to the latest report of
the Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy (RISE), we note that African countries are at the bottom of the scale. Out of the 44 listed African countries, barely 14% scored over 50% on the 12 EE assessment indicators.
This clearly indicate that EE is not a priority for governments and that the necessary pillars to have a sustainable market for EE are far from being established despite the efforts. Most African countries still suffering from limited electricity access to quality and permanent services, limited generation capacities, load shedding, high technical and commercial losses, high cost of electricity bills, lack of resources & capacity to invest in efficient equipment’s, etc.
These persisting problems are amplifying over time and have a direct impact on the overall development path and social wellbeing. Re-thinking resources planning should include the EE into all energy related installations and
infrastructure to increase projects outputs and outcomes. EE is not only an important pillar for reliable and optimal electricity production, distribution and consumption, but also offer better management and increased resources efficiency. Despite the significant efforts of international and development organizations, the EE is still in precarious stage in Africa. The absence of a governmental global action plan considering the overall impact on the country different sectors, prevented these efforts to converge to tangible results. It is the government’s responsibility to put in place the main EE market pillars and through general mobilization of all stakeholders
that the development and implementation of EE programs can be achieved. Government buy-in and ownership are sine qua non for developing an EE market and leading by example is the main seed for EE market establishment.
This can be attained through the establishment of a National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP) that define government
strategy, orientation, specific actions and programs to be untaken with targeted performance objectives for the
different sectors. The NEEAP covers technological, economic, social and environmental dimensions; consider best
practices and innovation; prioritize stakeholders management and identify financial and technical resources and needs. The NEEAP is the triangular stone for government to establish a clear vision adopted and approved by all government stakeholders. However, to ignite implementation, government should lead by example to lay the first brick in the EE market building. This latter could be demonstrated by establishing a dedicated structure that will
take care of the development and implementation of EE projects for government facilities (administration, public lighting, education, health, etc.). This structure, acting on the behalf of government institutions, will identify EE projects and ensures the implementation of EE measures by private Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) under the Energy Performance Contract (EnPC) approach. Under an EPC, the performance of projects is continuously monitored while ensuring that the achieved savings will pay for
the investments during a defined contractual period. This structure commonly known as Super ESCO, will provide necessary technical assistance for the development of private ESCOs, offers project’s financing and establishes required tools and procedures for the development of an EE market, sustainable with guaranteed result and higher performance.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has already investigate with certain regional member countries, the opportunity to support the development of Super ESCOs, particularly in Morocco, Kenya and potentially in Senegal, with the support of the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA). With the AfDB assistance, the first Super ESCO
in Africa is under implementation and such structure will change definitely the landscape of the EE in the different countries. The AfDB will explore with each of the interested countries, for NEEAP and Super ESCO development, the potential assistance and support than can be provided for the development, implementation and potential financing options for programs implementations.
Chief Investment Office and Energy Efficiency Expert, African