Renewable Energy: Experts Call On Investors To Stick To Local Content Policy

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Recent statistics have proven that Nigeria’s overall electricity generation output could drop from the peak of 4,500MW to an unprecedented low of 1,327 megawatts, which the Ministry of Power once confirmed, and as continued to have very negative impact on the power supply in the country; but not a few expert at the recent Nigerian Alternative Energy Exposition (NAEE), have described as laudable the efforts of  the Sustainable Energy Practitioners Association of Nigeria(SEPAN) to collaborate with concern authorities in ensuring that renewable and other alternative sources of energy are mainstreamed as investment with private sector participation, aimed at cushioning the protracted energy shortfall in the country. In this special report, SOLA OMOSOLA AKINGBOYE, who was at the Sixth edition of the Nigeria’s Alternative Energy Exposition (NAEE) held in Abuja reports the nitty gritty of the event.

Anchored by Sustainable Energy Practitioners Association of Nigeria (SEPAN), Nigerian Alternative Energy Exposition, (NAEE) represents Nigeria’s largest gathering of policy makers, researchers, manufacturers, investors and consumers who brainstormed and brought to practical focus the implementation of Nigeria’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) using renewable and energy efficient sources in line with President Buhari’s commitment at the Paris Agreement.

“We note with concern the deficiency in our energy infrastructure over the years in Nigeria, and the need to expand the services is imperative, hence, the drive towards renewable energy.”

That was the highpoint of the sixth edition of NAEE as issued by SEPAN to herald the three days expo, which had twelve plenary session format with panelists drawn among delegates hinged on the practical implementation of Nigeria’s INDC. Accordingly, SEPANS led initiative under the National Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) framework presented two key intervention projects under energy: renewable and energy efficient sources.

Various panel of discussants also touched on mobilising climate finance for INDC implementation in Nigeria such as; challenges and opportunities for private sector participation in Renewable and energy efficient projects in Nigeria; Developing GHG inventory and the accompanying MRV system in Nigeria; Legislative Framework in Renewable and energy efficient projects, the all-inclusive Nigeria Climate change Bill 2016 before National Assembly was x-rayed; the green growth agenda for Nigeria with Nigeria’s Great Green Wall as a case study; domestication of Science and Technology in Renewable Energy and Energy sources for sustainability; Green Campus Initiatives and SEPAN’s Intervention programme: Data collection and collation for renewable energy sources.

The former Senior Policy Advisor on Energy Policies, Regulations and Partnerships in the Ministry of Power, and presently, Country Director, Power for All campaign in Nigeria, Mrs. Ifeoma Malo who was one of the key speaker described Renewable Energy potentials for Nigeria as the lee-way to solving the country’s energy deficit.

“I think the conversations we had from this morning have been very encouraging; we saw state governments representatives, government agencies, second tiers government agencies that were very passionate about driving sustainable energy in their communities, seeing both investors potentials and the growth potentials for their states”.

“They have also seen corresponding issues bothering on climate change; to see that the lives of people in their states are improved. The emission standard that goes with industrialization is also addressed. So it was an all-inclusive event for us and to the stakeholders coming from the states.”

Highlighting the significant of Power for All, which cut across sub-saharan Africa and also at the center stage of the NAEE event, Malo explains that the organization’s modus operandi is to educate and connects potential investors to the Renewable Energy industry while expatiates Nigerians’ response to the calls for renewable source for power generation thus:

Power for All is an international organization, globally recognized for building platforms and collaborations for distributed power; promoting access through decentralized renewables; and employing communications, advocacy and strategy to advance energy access and address energy poverty, and more importantly addressing climate change matters. These are the things Power for All is very passionate about. That is our goal and objective in Nigeria. One of the things we want to see is to make sure that every community, especially the rural communities is electrified with using sustainable, renewable, energy; I think to that extent, our goals are align and that is why we are in full support of what NAEE is doing.”

“We have our word well cut out for us. Nigeria is one of the largest markets for Power for All in parts of Africa we are operating in, and then with the population of 170milion is expected to double in another couple of years.”

“We really have one of the largest markets we are operating on, but one of the things we have seen is and have been doing in the past six months, is that people have reached their point of faint when it comes to electrification”

“Not having light, having to use coal for cooking with the use of heavy generating sets as well as ‘I pass my neighbor’ with all of the attending health effects. So people are welcoming the idea of renewable energy, they want to know more, understand more of the technology, and that is where Power for All and organization like NAEE comes in, we need to ramp up our advocacies.”

The Havard trained, while commends the present administration minced no word calling on authorities for a meaningful policy direction that will enhance large scale investment in the sector:

“Though governments are already keying in; what we are hearing from the government is that we are ready to go. ‘Renewable Energy is the way to solve our energy deficit in Nigeria that your investment is safe and you will have a safe return on investment if you bring your money here to actually deploy renewable energy.’ I think in that regard, government is sending the right signal”

“If you remember, as part of Paris agreement, we got some announcement from the Federal Ministry of Environment that Nigeria has 30% five years plan for renewable energy; and very recently, we got an announcement from the Vice President Osinbajo that Nigeria has 50% target for Nigerian energy mix using renewable energy. That is a positive measure for investors who want to come to Nigeria to do business.”

“But we still have to get our policy and legislation aligns with some of the signals and the targets that have been set.” She said.

However, stakeholders in their resolution commend the federal government for the zeal shown recently at ensuring that renewable and energy efficient sources of energy are mainstreamed as investment with private sector participation. While appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the conference requested for its expeditious ratification so as to enable Nigeria partake from the accompanying opportunities Renewable Energy has brought to bear.

SEPAN also vouch its support to relevant government ministries, department and agencies (MDAs) for the development of Framework on Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions(NAMAs) for the five priority sectors chosen in Nigeria’s Internal Nationally Determined Contribution(INDC): Energy; Gas flaring; Agriculture and Land Use; Industry and Transport;

According to the communique issued and signed by its President, Dr. Magnus C. Onuoha, SEPAN calls on the Federal Government through Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), with the support from Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) to oversee the importation of quality renewable energy products into the country, with believe that importation of substandard products by quacks has painted genuine investors in the sector in bad light.

Among other prayers of the communique as highlighted are as follows:

  • That; there should be one stop desk office in the Federal Ministry of Finance. This office should serve as first point of call for local investors on green growth projects to explore challenges and opportunities in Nigeria.
  • That the regulatory agency, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory  Commission (NERC) should be much more proactive, independent and transparent on Renewable Energy (RE) and Energy Efficient (EE) regulations.
  • That there is need for collaboration between the Federal and State Government and the Private Sector to support training and job creation provided by off-grid renewable energy market for technicians, installers and artisans.
  • That there is the need to domesticate the nation’s science and technology innovations in renewable and energy efficient sources for sustainability.
  • That we call upon relevant Stakeholders, development partners to collaborate with SEPAN’s robust Data Base Department for the collection and collation of data on Renewable and Energy efficient sources.
  • That the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) should re-invent itself as the Renewable Energy Development Agency and focus on the promotion of off-grid, mini-grid renewable energy solutions working with the private sectors investors to achieve fast rural electrification; that the renewable energy and energy efficient policy will only be more potent if it is backed by law.
  • That SEPAN will support and encourage the Climate Change Bill (2016) on the floor of the National Assembly which seeks to give legal teeth to sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and infrastructure, among others.
  • Stakeholders resolved to pursue with vigour the Nigeria’s local content policy in the renewable and energy efficient sector, imploring the developers and oil companies that are diversifying their investment into this sector not to go contrary to the lofty policy of the Federal Government.

However, the three-day Expo attracted dignitaries such as the French Ambassador to Nigeria, Denys Gauer, Finnish Ambassador to Nigeria Suomela-Chowdhury, Project Manager Africa-EU,RECP Ina de Visser, the Chairman of Southern African Sustainable Energy Association Alwyn Smith, state governments, senior government officials from the Ministries, Department and Agencies(MDAs), among other numerous participants from the private and public sectors, academic, the civil society organization, with more than twenty manufacturers in renewable energy sector exhibited their products.

 

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