Onu gave the assurance during a one -day capacity building workshop on Small Hydro Power Development (SHPD) organised by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
The Minister said energy is a critical input for economic growth and sustainable development, noting that President Muhammadu Buhari- led administration was committed to providing rural electrification for development.
“The governments is committed to exploring our solar energy aimed at creating jobs to reduce poverty in the country.
“To also ensure that the quality of life in our rural communities is equal with the urban society through rural electrification.
“The President has promised Nigerians that in the next ten years, he will pull millions of Nigerians out of poverty as this is very important to the country,” he said.
He lamented that Nigeria had continued to suffer under severe electricity shortage due to inadequate electricity generation capacity but assured that adequate measures had been put in place to address the issue.
On his part, the UNIDO Regional Director and Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Jean Bakole, said the energy demand-supply gap in Nigeria calls for concern, especially the cost of doing business.
Bakole said the workshop was aimed at building adequate capacity for policymakers and renewable energy project developers to develop and implement small hydro power projects in Nigeria.
Represented by the UNIDO National Programme Officer, Mr Ruben Bamidele, he revealed that the organisation had conducted many pre-feasibility studies in the country.
Bakole said the workshop, in collaboration with other project facilitators was aimed at building capacity for policy makers to successfully implement power projects across the country.
“Energy is a critical input for economic growth and sustainable development, however, Nigeria suffers from electricity shortage due to inadequate electricity generation capacity.
“Over-reliance on fossil fuel based energy sources and weak transmission and distribution network, leading to low country-wide electricity access.
“The estimated electricity demand in the country is about 20,000MW, on supply side, total installed generating capacity is around 12,500MW, but only about 4,500MW is effectively operating.
“The objectives of the training is to raise awareness among policy makers at the Federal and State level on the potentials of small hydropower towards poverty reduction and economic development,” he said.
According to him, the workshop is expected to create awareness among policy makers on the viability of SHP as an effective tool for poverty reduction and economic development.