Buhari seeks US support for Nigeria’s $10b energy plans

…charges youths to work against religious extremism

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Washington asked the United States to support Nigeria’s $10b annual energy investment plans geared towards achieving 30 gigawatts of energy by 2030.

The President, who restated the Nigerian government’s determination to achieve the target by 2030, made the requests during the discussion panel on Just Energy Transition at the ongoing US-Africa Leaders Summit in the American city.

A statement by Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, said the President used the opportunity to outline the comprehensive Energy Transition Plan unfolded by his administration in response to the issues associated with climate change.

According to President Buhari, “as part of the National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy, we set the vision 30:30:30 which aims at achieving 30GW of electricity by 2030 with renewable energy contributing 30% of the energy mix.

Last year, Nigeria became the first African country to develop a detailed Energy Transition Plan to tackle both energy poverty and climate change, and deliver SDG7 by 2030 and net zero by 2060.

“Our Federal Executive Council approved the plan earlier this year and adopted it as a national policy. As part of the plan, we intend to completely eliminate the use of petrol/diesel generators by 2060 and therefore need to deploy renewables, particularly solar, at an unprecedented scale. For instance, the Energy Transition Plan requires that 5.3 GW of Solar be deployed annually until 2060 to achieve our targets.”

The President stressed that the Nigerian government has embarked on several reforms, one of the best in Africa, on mini-grid regulations as well as the integration of renewable energy into the national grid. He disclosed some of the reforms which have positively impacted the energy sector in Nigeria.

“Our aggressive power sector reforms have resulted in cost-reflective tariffs in the power sector for the first time since privatization.

Under the Nigeria Electrification Project, over 4 million people have been impacted through solar mini-grids and solar stand-alone systems.

“With respect to hydro, the Zungeru hydropower project is nearing completion and will add 700MW in capacity to the grid.”

Read also: Explainer: 6 things to know about Naira redesign and why Nigeria is clamping down on its vast cash economy

While also stressing the resources that the administration has committed towards the realisation of the vision, the Nigerian leader however, called for “considerable financial and technical support” to achieve the goals.

“For instance, our analysis shows that delivering the Energy Transition Plan requires $1.9 trillion spending up to 2060, including $410 billion above business-as-usual spending.

This additional financing requirement translates to a $10 billion investment needed per annum.

Between 2000 and 2020, just $3 billion per year was invested in renewable energy in the whole of Africa.

“Consequently, the $10 billion per year target of our Energy Transition Plan represents a significant scaling of current investment flows and we need support from the U.S. to mobilize the needed resources.

It is important to note that for African countries, the cost of finance and perceived investment risk remains significantly higher than for developed economies despite vast improvements in stability and governance. For our clean energy market to scale, Nigeria and more broadly Africa needs concessional, low-interest capital-led investments.

“Furthermore, we believe that the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan and the net-zero compliant investment pipeline we have developed is prime for a just energy transition partnership like the one offered to South Africa and, more recently, Indonesia.

Nigeria too seeks support from the US to be included in the G7’s Climate Partnerships List for the co-creation of a Just Energy Transition Partnership.”

President Buhari also called on US businessmen and the global community to tap “into the innovation and potential returns in our enormous market which is yet to be fully optimized.”

The President also on Tuesday stated that Nigeria’s youths are its promise for a better future and solving their problems is the priority of the government.

He stated this when he received the Secretary General of the Abu Dhabi Forum, Al-Mahfoudh Bin Bayyah and his deputy, Bob Roberts of the US, a group committed to cubing religious extremism, globally

President Buhari said the work of the foundation in promoting multi-faith dialogue was as important to the world as it was to Nigeria.

He spoke about the need to raise generations of youths devoid of religious extremism and bigotry, urging the group to continue to target the young people who are the promise of the future.

“Your work is very important in helping, especially the youth, to understand one another and at the same time, to be proud of their heritage. This great initiative by you will help future generations to plan well and live together in peace.

“On our part, we will continue to solve our problems, especially as they relate to the youths. We are big in size and population, facing many challenges, but in many areas, we are trying. In seven-and-a-half years, I have done my best,” said the President.

The Foundation Secretary General said they had come to inform the President, and to invite him to attend the conferment upon him, the Abu Dhabi Foundation’s award in recognition of his outstanding achievements in promoting peace and security.

They said the conferment was in line with the Foundation’s work in fighting religious extremism and promoting peaceful coexistence and dialogue amongst all religions.

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