Green economy receives boost as Asteven unveils renewable energy academy

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Nigeria’s fight to check global warming and grow a green economy received a boost as Asteven international group, an indigenous renewable energy company, launched the first private sector financed comprehensive renewable energy and energy efficiency academy in Africa on February 24, in Ogun state.

Bukola Saraki, senate president lead dignitaries at the ceremony to unveil the complex along with the Ogun state governor, minister of Works, Power and Housing and various stakeholders in the power industry.

“I really want to appreciate that this is a private sector initiative and we must support it. For someone to decide that we must put up an academy that will turn out young Nigerians to achieve renewable energy and be able to put the made in Nigeria drive, is the way forward for the country,” Bukola Saraki, Senate President said.

The academy, a 100 per cent solar powered institute is conceptualised to build on technical know-how and capacity, creating solar entrepreneurs, competent solar/ renewable energy technical, installers and engineers in its state of the art facility equipped with the latest high-tech equipment.

“The green economy is spending all over the world and the first thing we should do is to build capacity. To build capacity, you need a center of excellence and the academy is where you can have a proper training of those young engineers and is a quick way of creating jobs in the green economy. What drove us is to build capacity and creating jobs,” Sunny Akpoyibo, president, Asteven Group said.

On November 2017, the national assembly passed the climate change bill to tackle the climate challenges in the country and renewable was seen as a way to achieve reduction in climate effects.

“Climate change is the global issue that cuts across the world and that is what informed the move of the United Nation’s convention on climate change. It will facilitate the domestication of the agreement and enable Nigeria to effectively implement its commitment particularly the emission reduction targets,” Samuel Onuigbo, Chairman, House Committee on Climate Change said in an interview with BusinessDay.

Akpoyibo further said, “It is unacceptable that about 60%  of Nigerians still do not have access to modern forms of energy despite government efforts. It is also worrisome that about 94% of the population with access depends hugely on fossil fuel generators, kerosene, wood and fuel. Renewables holds the key to changing this dependency on oil.”

Nigeria has signed various PPA agreements for developers to generate renewable power but it still bogged by teething challenges.

“Unfortunately not up to 3 or 4 of the PPAs have been signed. We have trained over 145 young men and women since we stared in October and over 80% of them are from Ogun state. This launch is just the grand opening,” Magmus Onuoha, ED, Asteven Renewable Energy Academy said.

The training of the renewable course attracts no charge. The shortest duration of the course is 14 days and the longest duration is 8 weeks.

“After the graduation and completion of the course, financial and technical rewards will be given to graduates to create their own renewable energy businesses. Ten scholarships will be given to indigenes of Ogun state and half of them will be women.

“We are building the first of its kind, a solar tunnel in Kwara state to power 2,000 streetlights in the major roads. This is the first of its kind in sub-Sahara Africa. We have also our off grid system for every person from 20 watts to 1000 watts”, Akpoyibo said.

BUNMI BAILEY

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