Nigeria is set to join other developed economies to cut its dependence on fossil fuels for its energy needs with the recent validation of a national action plan on sustainable energy for all, developed with support from the United Nations Development Programme and the New Partnership for African Development, reports Bennett Oghifo
Stakeholders congregated in Abuja recently to validate the draft Sustainable Energy for ALL (SE4ALL) Action Agenda for Nigeria based on the global quest for a shift from fossil fuels to more environment-friendly sources.
Energy is essential in driving and growing national economies as well as improvement in standard of living of mankind; with fuels, electricity and process heat being the most relevant forms of the final energy. However, secured, available and affordable as well as sustainable energy has eluded many economies including that for Nigeria.
It was against this background that the UN Secretary General, in September 2011, pronounced the Sustainable Energy for ALL Initiative, with the view to bringing all sectors of society, including, private, Government, Civil Society and Academia, to support the three interlinked objectives of ensuring Universal access to modern energy services; doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix; and doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency, all by 2030. The initiative was officially launched in Nigeria by the President of Nigeria on 23rd August 2012 at the State House in the presence of then UNIDO Director General and Chair, UN Energy, Dr. KandeYumkelia.
The follow-up action…
After the launch, in the discharge of its statutory responsibility for strategic planning and coordination of national energy policies in all its ramifications, Energy Commission of Nigeria was supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to work with other stakeholders, including government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in domesticating the UN initiative in the country. To this effect, sensitisation workshops on SE4ALL were held in 2012 and 2013. In 2013 also a SE4ALL Rapid Assessment Gap Analysis for Nigeria was carried out; and stakeholders met in this same venue to validate the draft. The Rapid Assessment & Gap Analysis provides regional and international stakeholders with information on the current status of the energy access, renewable energy deployment and energy efficiency.
The next step in the SE4ALL milestone is the preparation of country- specific Action Agenda across government ministries and departments to bridge the gaps earlier identified in line with international template. In developing the draft SE4ALL Action Agenda, a Lead Consultant, ECOWAS Commission, Prof. Ken Ike was engaged to work with all stakeholders. NEPAD provided the Africa regional platform, while the Energy Commission of Nigeria played its coordination role.
The Director-General/CEO, Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), Prof. Eli JidereBala gave this background in his opening remarks at a 2-day national technical validation workshop on Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) action agenda in Abuja, recently.
“We are here today in a ceremony to usher in the 2-Day Technical Workshop meant to validate the draft Sustainable Energy for ALL Action Agenda for Nigeria. The draft was produced under the auspices of the Energy Commission of Nigeria with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).”
He lauded the UNDP-Nigeria Office for their support for sustainable energy development in Nigeria.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. OgbonnayaOnu, who declared open the validation exercise open, said, “The role of energy as a commodity for foreign exchange earnings and an instrument for growing other sub-sectors of the domestic economy, as well as an instrument for international politics cannot be over emphasised.
“Therefore, adequate availability of energy in a sustainable manner, as defined by 1987 Brundtland Report, becomes imperative for national development.”
The interlinked objectives of ensuring universal access to modern energy services; doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by the year 2030, may look global but that “the initiative concerns us in the developing countries most. Perhaps, that was why Nigeria launched this initiative in 2012.”
According to the minister, “The need for Nigeria to focus on science and technology, as is being emphasised by my Ministry, is once again emphasised in the global choice of renewable energy and energy efficiency as the main pillar on which the whole world can achieve sustainable energy for all by the year 2030.”
He said achieving SE4ALL objectives required country-specific strategies and action plans across government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to support the mainstreaming of energy into the development process. “Equally important is the sensitisation and creation of awareness among key economic sectors and actors like the providers of energy services – public sector, private sector, CSOs- and the energy end-users (agriculture, small business, industry, health, education, etc) at all levels -local, state and federal.
The SE4ALL initiative would go a long way to complement the government’s efforts at increasing Nigeria’s access to electricity and other modern energy services for economic growth, particularly now when the country is experiencing energy challenges, which has led to many individuals and corporate bodies having to depend on the use of privately owned generators to meet their electricity needs.
This is contained in an address by the Head, Environment &SustainableDevelopment, UNDP, Mr. MuyiwaOdele, who represented the Resident Representative and Country Director at the event.
Odele, who reminded the distinguished gathering that the time frame to achieve the objectives of the SE4ALL by 2030 was less than 15 years, said as things stand, “the promotion of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency becomes an operative to meet the energy need of many Nigerians both in the rural and urban areas.”
He recalled that “over the years, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has working tirelessly in partnership with the Energy Commission of Nigeria under the Access to Clean Energy partnership framework towards the achievement of the SE4ALL targets, as evidenced by the quality and of projects implemented to date.
“UNDP with support from the Global Environment Facility and in collaboration with the Energy Commission of Nigeria launched the Energy Efficiency Programme, which made tremendous achievement by; Supporting the federal government to put in place Minimum Energy Performance Standards for two major sets of applienaces –lighting and refrigerators for regulation of sub-standard products.
It also supported the government to establish Standard Energy Efficiency Testing Laboratories for lighting appliances and refrigerator at the Standard Organisation of Nigeria for quality standardization.
UNDP also, working in partnership with the Bank of Industry (BOI), inaugurated the Access to Renewable Energy project, with the aim of catalyzing private investment in the renewable energy sector in Nigeria through MSMEs grants.
He said earlier in the year, as part of its contribution to ongoing national efforts to rebuild the North East, UNDP and ECN initiated a project aimed at the provision of off-grid solar energy services to two communities in Hong Local Government, Adamawa state – that were ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency namely – Gaya Siikami and Fa’a Gaya.
“This was done through the installation of photovoltaic systems which currently provides the communities with essential domestic lighting, portable water supply and refrigeration for the Community Health Centre. A total of 267 households have benefited directly from stand-alone PV systems installed in their homes,” Odele said.
Similar initiatives are currently being replicated in 10 other communities in Adamawa State.
He said, “Although these interventions by the Energy Commission of Nigeria and UNDP as well as those of other development partners have recorded some successes and form a good foundation to build upon in the country’s quest to promote sustainable energy, a lot more still needs to be done to impact positively on the lives of the Nigerian people – this in essence is what the Sustainable Energy for All Action Plan represents.”