The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in partnership with the General Directorate for Natural Resources and Energy (DGRNE) of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Natural Resources (MIRN, former MOPIRNA) and the National Designated Authority (NDA) at the Ministry
of Planning, Finance and Blue Economy (MPFEA) are implementing the GCF readiness project “Building institutional capacity for a renewable energy and energy efficiency investment programme for São Tomé and Principe”. It is being executed in close coordination with the ongoing GEF funded UNIDO project “Strategic program to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency investments in the electricity sector of São Tomé and Príncipe”. The projects have a strong link to the starting Central African Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CEREEAC), located in Luanda, Angola.
Both projects contribute to the national vision “São Tomé e Príncipe 2030: the country we need to build", which aims to transform the country into a climate-resilient and vibrant island hub for blue economy business, financial services and tourism, benefitting from the growing market of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). The success of the national vision depends on a power sector reform and a transformational shift of the entire energy system from complete fossil fuel import dependency to renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Currently, the small island developing state (SIDS) has one of the highest power generation costs in Sub Sahara Africa. The dependency on fossil fuel imports for energy generation and transportation questions the macro-economic stability of the country and hampers the productivity of key island industries. A transition will lead to a significant reduction of fossil fuel import spending and free up scarce hard currency resources for social and economic development, as well as climate adaptation.
Therefore, UNIDO supported DGRNE in the development of the National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) and National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEEAP), which include quantifiable and feasible overall targets and sub-targets (by sector, thematic area and/or technology) by 2030 and 2050. The NEEAP identified a significant feasible and viable potential for energy efficiency improvements. The island electricity system is characterized by supply- and demand-side losses. In the past, energy efficiency did not get much attention and the focus was predominantly on the power sector and tariff reform, grid expansion and renewable energy integration.
The development and enforcement of energy efficiency standards was identified as an important priority area in the NEEAP. Therefore, over the past months, UNIDO supported the Government in the development of technical assessments, minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) for lighting, refrigeration and air conditioning, as well as a labeling program.
The activity was implemented in close coordination with the World Bank (WB), which made the approval of such legislation a requirement for support under its COVID-19 recovery program and a comprehensive LED light replacement program. Considering the current electricity crisis on the island, the reduction of peak demand is of high priority. According to assessments, 68 percent of the evening peak load demand is related to residential consumption, for which lighting requirements are about 70 percent of consumption.
To enforce the envisaged new legislation a compliance and implementation framework was established. The documents provide an interesting model for replication within the ECCAS region through the new Central African Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CEREEAC).