BusinessDay

Nigeria’s growing renewable energy adoption opens path to sustainable economic growth

Beyond providing improved and constant electric power as well as a cleaner environment, renewable energy has shown that it has extensive economic, environmental, social and financial advantages as it gains ground particularly in Nigeria.

This was discussed at the Women in Management, Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ) E-Roundtable for the month of July themed Women in Energy; Leveraging the Opportunities in Renewable Energy held recently in Lagos.

Omobola Omofaiye, chief commercial officer (CCO), Arnergy, said one of the major challenges faced in Nigeria is the epileptic availability of power supply which majorly affects individuals, entrepreneurs and corporate organizations.

She added that the power Africa factsheet for Nigeria reveals that an estimated generation for national use is about 25790 megawatts and current generation is about 6800 megawatts while distribution is around 3000 megawatts which signifies a huge deficit in power availability.

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“The use of renewable energy can effectively bridge this gap and also address the energy demand in the market on a long term duration especially for impact sectors like technology, thus they can do business seamlessly and also account for more profitability,” she said

She added that solar energy for example has a life span of over 15 years which is cost-effective and productive for businesses.
Highlighting opportunities in the sector, she said renewable energy has different sources like the sun, wind, biogas, biomass using recyclable products hence it presents endless opportunities especially for entrepreneurs

“Renewable energy has a long value chain that spills opportunities, we have a supply of products, recyclable waste, equipment, expertise, assemblers, maintenance, retail, funding, training, consulting and many more, each of them has different segments that require people’s services,” Omofaiye said

Adaobi Oniwinde, policy & partnerships manager, All On, an off-grid energy impact investor seeded by Shell, said that the renewable energy sector is a relatively nascent sector hence Nigeria is not very far behind, however it needs an enabling environment to grow adding that the goal is to speed up the closing of the access to energy gap
“The sector is growing and there is a lot of sector specific knowledge gap which needs to be built, there are also a lot of untapped opportunities which are yet to be utilized,” she said.

Rolake Filani, chief commercial officer, Mixta Africa said data from the World Bank reveals that Nigeria losses 26 billion annually due to insufficient electricity.
Hence renewable energy as a solution aligns with at least three of the 17 sustainable development goals and is a key driver of sustainable economic development
“For example, research shows for every $1 million spent on renewable energy and exports, 4.8 full-time jobs are created compared to the 1.7 full-time jobs created in the fossil fuels industry,” she said.

Pamela Adegbite, group head sales for the commercial and industrial sector, Starsight Energy, said just like other sectors, renewable energy encounters some challenges such as product availability as enough panels are not manufactured to meet demand hence it becomes import reliant.

As a result, a lot of money goes into Custom duties and taxes as high as 25 percent which are usually exempted in other countries, hence it becomes quite expensive to access for consumers.
She urged that the federal government and regulatory agencies recognize the numerous opportunities that renewable energy has to offer so they can provide an enabling environment for it to flourish.

Ngover Ihyembe-Nwankwo, Executive council chairperson, WIMBIZ said the focus of the round table was necessary seeing that renewable energy although relatively new is fast gaining ground in Nigeria, hence it is necessary to discuss ways with which it can be adopted fast while utilizing the numerous opportunities it presents.

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