Gambia: NAWEC Poised to Improve Energy Security

The National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) in collaboration with ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) Tuesday began a two-day training on the use of Hybrid Optimization Model for Electric Renewable (HOMER) software as a tool to re-project design.

HOMER is a powerful modeling software tool used for designing and analyzing hybrid power systems that contain a mix of conventional generators, wind turbines, combined heat and power, solar batteries, fuel cells, biomass and other inputs.

The project is designed to improve the energy security and reduce high emission of diesel fuel used in power generation in The Gambia.

Rachel Keita, the human resource and admin director of NAWEC, stated that the training workshop has come at a very opportune time, a period in which NAWEC is striving to reduce the Gambia's reliance on fossil fuel for power generation.

She stated that NAWEC seeks to maximize its financial benefits, as well as address environmental issues to ensure sustainability and the availability of energy .

Keita went on to say that ECREEE as a regional utility organization has over the years been of great support to NAWEC in the area of capacity building. According to her, they place a very important premium on the human resource component of the company.

She noted that the human element is the most important resource in any organization and with the right human resources, the technological, financial and material resources can be shaped for maximum effect.

The human resource and admin director of NAWEC hinted that it is in this light that the HOMER training programme cannot have come at a better time and that the core staff attending the forum represent an important critical mass for management and that any training targeted for this group is a welcome move,as it is complementing their efforts in the direction.

For his part, the deputy director of ECREEE, Alhagie A.S Cham stated that as a policy response to the rising energy security concerns, continued lack of access to energy services in rural areas and the need for climate change mitigation, the ECOWAS energy ministers established the first regional renewable energy promotion agency in sub-Sahara Africa.

Cham revealed that ECREEE was inaugurated on 6th July 2010 with the support of the ECOWAS Commission, the Governments of Austria, Spain and technical assistance of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

The overall objective of ECREEE, he said, is to contribute to the sustainable development of West Africa by improving access to modern, reliable and affordable energy service and energy security and a reduction of negative energy related externalities.

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