• Thursday, December 07, 2023
businessday logo


In race for clean energy, Universal Energy plans solar project grants

How access to renewable energy can revitalise Nigerian northern states

The Universal Energy Facility – a results-based financing facility managed by Sustainable Energy for All – has announced that it will provide grants to renewable energy companies that applied to have their projects financed as part of the facility’s Stand-alone Solar for Productive Use programme in Nigeria.

According to a statement, the companies will now begin construction on their proposed solar projects, all of which are designed to connect businesses and services to a clean, affordable and reliable electricity source.

The company said the projects would span most states in Nigeria and be completed within the next 12 months.

Together, they will connect approximately 3,500 businesses, markets, shopping malls, cold-storage facilities, clinics, schools, and other productive uses of energy, which are uses that support economic activity and community infrastructure.

As stand-alone solar energy projects, they will alleviate the need for businesses and services to rely on expensive, polluting fossil fuel generators as their source of power. The UEF estimates that approximately 5,400 tons of CO2 equivalent per year will be saved once all of the proposed projects are implemented.

Read also: Bows Nigeria acquires 32.99% stake in Courteville

The special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All, Damilola Ogunbiyi, was quoted as saying, “With this programme in Nigeria, the Universal Energy Facility will demonstrate the enabling power that sustainable energy can have on local economic development and climate action.

“Solar projects supported by the facility will give businesses clean and affordable electricity to help them scale up, create jobs, and replace polluting power sources.”

Last year, the Government of Nigeria launched its Energy Transition Plan showing how the country would achieve universal energy access by 2030 and net-zero emissions by mid-century, as well as the finance required to meet these goals.

The UEF is contributing to the plan’s finance targets for the power sector by providing grants that companies can leverage to attract additional finance for clean energy.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, was quoted to have said, “The Universal Energy Facility will provide grant payments to enable solar companies to expand their operations to small and medium-sized enterprises across Nigeria, while crowding-in additional private capital.

The Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy Agba, also said “This Universal Energy Facility programme is a practical demonstration of targeted investment in our power sector and in our overall objective to provide energy access to all Nigerians.”

The Stand-alone Solar for Productive Use programme in Nigeria opened for applications in August 2022 and received expressions of interest from hundreds of energy developers.

“Within just a few months of opening this programme in Nigeria, we are now at the point where grantees have been selected and companies can start building transformative stand-alone solar projects,” said Anita Otubu, Senior Director, Universal Energy Facility.

The Chief Executive Officer, Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet, Simon Harford, said, “The global energy transition must power both people and planet, enabling economic opportunities and displacing carbon-intensive technologies.”