Nigerians have been advised to embrace distributed renewable energy as means to eliminate the financial, health, safety and environmental costs attached to use of fossil fuels for energy and lighting.
Ms. Ify Malo, the Country Manager of Power for All, made this known in Lokoja at the end of the workshops for policymakers, faith-based institutions, civil society organizations and trade associations in the North-Central region on how to use DRE solutions to accelerate the rate of electrification and end energy poverty in the region.
Malo said; “Energy poverty forces people to resort to inefficient forms of energy and lighting through fossil fuels such as kerosene which comes with a lot of costs: financial, health, safety and environmental costs. As a global campaign, Power for All believes that the fastest way to achieve universal access to clean, modern energy is through the acceleration of DRE which eliminates these costs.”
Power for All, a global advocacy campaign for distributed renewable energy (DRE) has concluded two workshops for policymakers, faith-based institutions, civil society organizations and trade associations in the North-Central region on how to use DRE solutions to accelerate the rate of electrification and end energy poverty in the region.
DRE solutions—which range from pico-solar solutions and stand-alone solar systems to mini-grids and mobile solar farms—have the advantage of being readily available, affordable, and immediately deployable. This allows the energy access to be delivered to consumers in a number of days—versus the years it takes to site, permit, build, and manage a traditional centralized fossil fuel grid system—and can be an important tool for Nigeria to better exploit the full range of its renewable energy resources, especially with delivering energy services to last-mile communities trapped in energy poverty.
Nigeria’s current electrification rate stands at 45% nationally and 57% in the North-Central geopolitical zone. The target of the Federal Government is to achieve an electrification rate of 75% nationally by the 2020.
The first workshop which held on the 26th of February tagged DRE 101 is part of the Scaling Off Grid Energy (SOGE) Grand Challenge for Development, a partnership which aims to accelerate growth in the off-grid energy market to provide 20 million households in sub-Saharan Africa with access to modern, clean, and affordable electricity. It is funded by the USAID and Power Africa and co-implemented in Nigeria by FHI360 and Power for All.
The workshop was attended by policymakers on energy, water resources, infrastructure, and rural development from Kogi, Niger, Nassarawa and Benue States.
The second workshop which held last week in Lokoja was part of the “Reducing Black Carbon Emissions by Transitioning to Clean and Sustainable Lighting Project” which focuses at phasing out kerosene lamps in Nigeria and promoting a market transition to off-grid and energy-efficient lighting products. The project is funded by the United Nation Environmental Program (UNEP) and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) as part of CCAC’s Household Initiative Framework and implemented by Power for All in Nigeria.
As part of the project, Power for All conducted a study on the state of kerosene lighting in Nigeria encompassing the financial costs, health and safety risks of kerosene use, environmental impacts of kerosene use, the benefits of switching to off-grid lighting and how best to achieve the switch.
These findings were shared with participants at the workshop who are potential key stakeholders in achieving the transition through policy formulation, advocacy and market participation.
The workshop was attended by policymakers, civil society organizations, faith-based institutions and market associations in the North Central region.
Mr. Otayitie Eminefo, the Special Adviser to the Kogi State Governor on Energy, said Kogi State Government has made power a priority issue and is looking at its generation using varied means. He stated that the Power for All workshop has further raised awareness about DRE as an option and will complement the efforts of the government.
In her contribution, Mrs. Enehe Dorcas, the Head, Climate Change Department of the Kogi State Ministry of Environment, said the Kogi State Government has been grappling with how to protect the environment while at the same time meeting the energy needs of the people.
Engr. Ahmed Mohammed Bashir from the Nasarawa State Ministry of Water Resources, Energy and Rural Development said: “Nasarawa State has been suffering from insufficient power supply from the grid. As such, this is a welcome idea on how to use DRE to increase power supply within the state.”
A representative from the North-Central Zonal Office of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) said: “The workshop amplifies the efforts of the REA which is increasingly focusing on mini-grids to provide electrification to communities in the rural areas.”
Mr. Sam Enejoh, the Vice-President of the Kogi State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KOCCIMA), said: “The Chamber of Commerce and Industry is excited about the business opportunities that DRE presents and will mobilize its members to take advantage of it while providing electricity for everyone within the state and even beyond its borders.”
Imam Khalid Danjuma of Jama’atulNasril Islam (JNI) said: “As the umbrella organization for all Muslim bodies, we intend to use what we have learnt from these workshops and sensitize our members on the dangers of using kerosene for lighting and encourage them to transit to using clean lighting sources.”
There were also presentations from renewable energy companies such as Consistent Energy, GVE Projects Ltd, Creeds Energy, SoSAI Renewables, and Solar Sisters who spoke about their current and past projects and their impacts. The companies also exhibited their products and held demonstrations on their use and effectiveness.
Power for All is a global campaign that advances decentralized renewable energy as the fastest, most cost-effective and sustainable approach to universal energy access. It is active in India, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and Nigeria and its 200+ partners enable to have a footprint in over 15 energy-impoverished countries.
In Nigeria, it facilitated a Call to Action that saw over 15 partners cutting across government, private sector, donors and civil society undertake commitments to actions that will grow the DRE sector.
It was also instrumental to the establishment of the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN) to enable the private sector be a part of renewable energy policy formulation.
It has also been instrumental to the formulation and adoption of various policy instruments aimed at growing the DRE sector, such as the Mini-Grids Regulation.