Experts in the power sector have called on the Federal Government to liberalise the sector to attract the type of investment required to up-scale the energy production in the country.
Speaking at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) workshop on promoting low carbon energy solutions in Nigeria’s energy/power supply in Abuja, a UNDP senior consultant, Prof. Emmanuel Oladipo, said until government liberalised the sector to attract private investors it would be difficult to attract the necessary private sector investment needed to drastically improve energy generation in Nigeria.
He said: “Of course, the Federal Government is conscious and recognises now that unless the whole environment is liberalised in the area of investment it may never be possible for it to attract the type of investment required to up-scale the energy production in Nigeria, even if it is from the fossil fuel.”
He advised Federal Government to be “ready to allow both the institutional policy and investment approaches that will encourage the private sector to see the need to have investment in the area of energy that is usually long term. So, there must be series of encouragement either through series of incentives, tariffs, fees, policies, tax exemption that may help the private sector to see the value of investing in renewable energy in particular.”
In his paper on de-risking renewable energy’s nationally appropriate mitigation action (NAMA) for the Nigerian power sector, Oladipo said developing countries needed about $250 – $270 billion to be able to increase their renewable energy source to up to 20 percent and urged government to critically look at the GEF-supported project to boost the nation’s renewable energy subsector.
“UNDESA has estimated that it would cost up to $250-270 billion per year to shift developing countries to 20 percent renewable energy by 2025 to meet the combined challenges of energy access, energy security and climate change and if the Federal Government of Nigeria wants to increase its renewable energy path of the energy production, it needs a lot of money. The actual cost of Nigeria will run into billions of naira.
“So, I hope the federal government will look at this project critically and ensure that it is properly implemented, give it the necessary support through the Ministry of Environment and Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) and ensure that we’re able to see all the opportunities that can be accrued towards making renewable energy a major source of energy in Nigeria within one or two years of this project,” he stated.
Speaking exclusively to LEADERSHIP, the national coordinator, GEF/UNDP energy efficiency programme in Nigeria, Mr Etiosa Uyigue, said the project is a supported Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) designed to transform the power sector in Nigeria.
“We all know that power is a problem in Nigeria and we all need power. We’re talking about a population of over 170 million people and we’re only generating about four thousand megawatts of electricity which is grossly inadequate for a country like Nigeria and you know it takes time to build the power sector. So, we have to begin to look for alternatives for those that are not yet connected to the electricity grid. It could be solar, geothermal or wind,” he said.
The rationale behind the project, according to Uyigue, is to see how Nigeria can boost electricity supply to meet up with the demand.
He stressed the importance of private sector investment in the renewable energy sub sector, urging government to put the right policy and regulations in place to encourage investors and also an action plan for its energy development.
He further said the pilot phase of the project, starting with a 100 Megawatts solar PV in Bauchi, is already being supported by a private sector, adding investors need encouragement to develop interest in renewable energy development.