Nigeria seeks transition to renewable energy

Nkechinyere Itodo, Abuja.

As Nigeria continues to seek a renewed approach to sustainable energy, the government has called for country-specific strategies and action plans across ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to mainstream energy into its development processes.

Noting the country’s limited access to cleaner energy services, Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has said that in pursuing the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) by 2030 initiative, Nigeria must apply a country-specific and science and technology-focused strategies and plans for the renewable energy and energy efficiency agenda.

“For Nigeria to be among the twenty largest economies in the world by 2020, secured, equitable and environmentally sustainable energy supply for the creation of employment which are inter-related challenges, must be addressed.

This can only be achieved through the transformation of Nigeria’s economy from one based mainly on fossil fuel to a low carbon economy based around renewable energy and energy efficiency,” Dr Onu said, at an experts meeting in Abuja.

Renewable energy is inexhaustible as it reduces sole dependence on fossil fuels; improves security of energy supply; reduces greenhouse gas emissions as well as creates environmental and social benefits while delivering green jobs to the economy.

“My Ministry will continue to play its role in ensuring that energy development is done in a sustainable manner. Developments in renewable energy and energy efficiency best practices will continue to attract my ministry’s attention until it is developed into an economic sub-sector that contributes reasonably to GDP”, he concluded.

SE4ALL targets

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other development partners have been in partnership with Nigeria to realize its national development projects.

They have worked with the Energy Commission of Nigeria under the Access to Clean Energy partnership framework towards the achievement of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) targets.

Speaking at the Abuja meeting, the UNDP Country Director in Nigeria, Pa Lamin Beyai, who was represented by the Team Leader, Environment and Sustainable Development of UNDP, Mr. Muyiwa Odele, stated that the validation of the SE4ALL is vital.

“At a time when the country is experiencing energy challenges which have led to many individuals and corporate bodies having to depend on the use of privately owned generators to meet their electricity needs, you will all agree with me that the SE4ALL initiative will go a long way to complement government’s efforts at increasing Nigeria’s access to electricity and other modern energy services for economic growth.

Thus, the promotion of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency becomes an imperative to meet the energy needs of many Nigerians both in the rural and urban areas. We, as UNDP, are on the ground to support you in realizing your national development priorities and remain available to provide support under your leadership,” he said.

Nigeria’s commitment to the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the country is set out in the National Energy Policy, the Renewable Energy Master Plan (REMP) and the Vision 2020:20.

The country which is the largest black nation is endowed with huge renewable energy resources such as solar, hydro, biomass and wind.

Stakeholders believe that these resources can be exploited to boost better mix of the country’s national energy supply, and thereby promote sustainable development through self-reliance.

The meeting in Abuja was organized by the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN),  with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Nigeria and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

SE4ALL is an initiative of the United Nations introduced in September 2011 to bring Governments, Private Sectors, Civil Society Organizations and the Academia across the world to support the three interlinked objectives of ensuring universal access to modern energy services.

This will double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and as result, increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by the year 2030.

In view of that, Nigeria launched this initiative in 2012 and together with her development partners – NEPAD and UNDP, conducted a Rapid Assessment and Gap Analysis from which they drew up an action plan for the realization of SE4ALL in the country.