BusinessDay

Power sector: Scaling Nigeria’s energy transformation agenda

A 2021 World Bank report says about 48 percent of sub-Saharan Africans had access to electricity in 2020. In Nigeria, the number is put at 55 percent, leaving a significant number of the population with relatively little power as there is a huge gap between supply and demand for electricity.

The federal government has made efforts to resolve the challenges in the power sector with the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) launched in 2018 to improve the end-to-end infrastructure and operational capacity.

But with the global shift to clean and renewable energy, Nigeria is also looking to meet its ecological commitments. President Muhammadu Buhari at COP26 announced Nigeria’s ambition to achieve net-zero by 2060.

Recently, the country launched its Energy Transition Plan (ETP), which demonstrates its commitment to a clean and sustainable future. In addition to providing reliable access to energy for industries, the plan supports Nigeria’s goal of universal access to energy by 2030, as well as a carbon-neutral energy system by 2060.

Where the challenges lie in the transition plan, is that the country would need an investment of $410 billion, which translates to $10 billion per year, to achieve the goal. Local and international investments would be critical support for the growth of the sector and to scale Nigeria’s energy transformation agenda sustainably.

At the launch of the ETP, the ultimate objective was to mobilise the finance required to jumpstart the implementation of the Plan, which secured the $1.5 billion each donation from the World Bank and US Exim Bank to support transition but still leaves a shortage of $7 billion.

Read also:Power Ministry confirms participation at Nigeria Energy’s Conference

The shortage of electricity in Nigeria provides plenty of opportunities for stakeholders to invest in the sector. Eventually, the ecosystem would need more opportunities to showcase the transition journey and prospects to attract local and international investors.

For eight editions, the Nigeria Energy Exhibition and Conference (formerly Power Nigeria) has continued to be the standard platform for all stakeholders in the Power and Energy sector to connect and discuss key issues affecting the industry as well as practical roadmaps to solve the challenges.

The ninth edition of Nigeria Energy scheduled for September 20th to 22nd, 2022, has created a new initiative called the Hosted Buyer Programme and Investor Club.

This club aims to bring investors and VIPs with direct purchasing powers from the Middle East and Africa to drive sustainable finance for Nigeria and help move energy projects forward. Key stakeholders will be governments, utilities, developers, consultants, contractors, financial institutions, power pools, and industrial and commercial users.

Confirmed investors from the Nigeria Energy Investor Club, include African Development Bank, Principal – National & Regional Power Systems Development; United Bank for Africa Plc, CEO Middle East; Africa Finance Corporation, Vice President – Investments; USAID, Energy Project Delivery Advisor; and the Private Office of Shkeikh Ahmed Al-Qassimi, president of the board.

Recent activities in the sector show that the country is indeed committed and ambitious to achieve carbon neutrality and end energy poverty. The 2022 Nigeria Energy Exhibition and Conference is built to support this outlook by its steering committee which was formed to address the current challenges and opportunities within the African energy market. Some of the confirmed committee members are from Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, the Transmission Company of Nigeria, Rural Electrification Agency, the Nigerian National Assembly and Federal Ministry of Power, the Women in Renewable Energy Association, and more.

The steering committee has been pivotal in providing direction to the conference’s theme and agenda which will be addressing key areas such as meeting electricity demand and improving the reliability of Nigeria’s power sector, regulatory and policy requirements to attract local and international investment, securing financing for gas-power generation and renewable energy plants, and exploring the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).

Other focus areas include; stimulating the growth of the market while providing returns for investors, digitalisation of Nigeria’s power sector, opportunities, and challenges of decentralising power generation, developing renewable energy in Nigeria, security of power equipment and infrastructure, and investment in transmission infrastructure.

Addressing post-pandemic market needs, Nigeria Energy is a transition from Power Nigeria to ensure Nigeria’s leading event remains at the forefront of the rapidly evolving energy sector. The 2022 edition is held under the patronage of the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Power and presents a line-up of distinguished speakers. They include Abubakar Aliyu, minister of Power, Federal Ministry of Power represented by Temitope Fashedemi, permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Nigeria; Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, MD and CEO, Rural Electrification Agency of Nigeria; and Aliyu Tukur Tahir, managing director/CEO, NEMSA & Chief Electrical Inspector of the Federation (CEIF).

Others are Folake Soetan, CEO, Ikeja Electric Plc, Mohammed Mijindadi, GE Nigeria president and sales director for Anglophone & Francophone Africa, GE Gas Power; and Tunde Gbajumo, chief of party, USAID Nigeria Power Sector Program (NPSP), among others.

One focus for the government in scaling the Power sector is digitalisation since technology is significant in addressing issues in smart metering and solving energy theft. To capture this, Nigeria Energy will mobilise some of the leading technology companies that have contributed to data-driven energy transition across the globe. The event will feature world-renowned, innovative power companies and will bring together energy equipment manufacturers, distributors, procurement professionals, dealers, and regulators to lead the discourse on West Africa’s evolving energy sector.

Local industries and businesses need access to reliable power and clean energy if Nigeria must build a diversified and sustainable economy. The ETP is a welcome development heading to ‘African COP.

However, Nigeria needs to secure the funds necessary to support its energy transition plan ahead of COP27. The Nigeria Energy Exhibition and Conference provide a suitable platform for solutions to Nigeria’s energy and power challenges. The event will assemble investors and private sector leaders by showcasing concrete projects to deliver the transition goals while creating significant market opportunities. All stakeholders can register for free to attend by visiting the Nigeria Energy 2022 website.

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