‎Stakeholders call for more action on renewable energy development in Nigeria

*Solar panel harness energy of the sun.

*Solar panel harness energy of the sun.

*To present a renewal energy bill at National Assembly

Oscarline Onwuemenyi

20 October 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Delegates rose from a three-day conference on alternative energy in Abuja with a call on Federal Government to pay adequate attention to the country’s renewable energy sector.

The call, which is contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the fifth Nigeria Alternative Energy Exposition (NAEE) with the theme: “Consolidating Energy Transformation Gains” was signed by Mr Chidi Onuoha, a renewable energy consultant and advocate, on behalf of other delegates.

The stakeholders commended the Federal Government for putting in place the Renewable Energy Policy (REP) and called for its effective implementation.

They described the policy as a critical blueprint for the national search for permanent solutions to the country’s lingering energy crisis.

The delegates emphasised the need for the policy to be backed by law in order to sustain the contribution of clean energy to the energy mix and attract investors to the sector.

To this end, they pledged their support for a Green Economy Nigeria Bill (GENB), which they said would soon be in the National Assembly.

The bill, according to them, seeks to give legal teeth to sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and infrastructure.

NAEE is the country’s largest gathering of policy makers, researchers, manufacturers, investors and consumers of renewable energy.

This year’s edition was declared open by President Muhammadu Buhari, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Mr Godknows Igali.

It attracted French Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Denys Gauer; the Director General, Energy Commission of Nigeria, Prof. Eli Bala; French Ambassador for Climate in Africa and Middle East, and Mr Stephane Gompertz.

The communiqué read: “We commend the Federal Government for putting in place the Renewable Energy Policy (REP) and Energy Efficiency Policy (EEP) document.

“The REP document, no doubt, will serve as a blue print for sustainable supply and utilisation of renewable energy sources within the economy for both on-grid and off-grid solutions.

“The document also advances an Energy Efficiency Policy (EEP) which will reduce inefficient consumption, thereby providing greater access to electricity consumers.”

The delegates expressed concern over the “deficiency” in the country’s energy infrastructure over the years despite being the most populated and largest economy in Africa.
Among other recommendations, they advised the Federal Government to encourage private sector investments in renewable energy using feed-in tariffs as obtainable in other climes.

They advised the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) to provide a regulatory framework for off-grid power supply solutions.

The delegates cited high import tariffs on renewable energy facilities and high bank credit as major obstacles to investment in the sector.

They, therefore, urged the Nigerian Customs Service to implement relevant aspects of the REP, especially the provision on zero import duty for renewable energy technologies.

“The Federal Government through the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) should ensure the importation of only quality renewable energy equipment into the country.

“Importation of substandard products by quacks has painted genuine investors in the sector in bad light.

“There is also the need for collaboration between the federal and state governments, and the private sector to support training and job creation provided by off-grid renewable energy market for technicians, installers and artisans.

“The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) should reinvent itself as the Renewable Energy Development Agency and focus on the promotion of off-grid, mini-grid renewable energy solutions.

“REA should also work with private sector investors to achieve fast rural electrification,” they said.

The stakeholders announced the formation of an association called the Nigeria Sustainable Energy Group (NSEG) to give them a voice as it is the case with other professional bodies in the country.

According to them, NSEG will serve as a platform for them to fast-track and monitor progress made in the implementation of their resolutions and other issues of interest to the members.

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