Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Nigeria has accepted to lead West African countries in their plan to implement the Paris Climate Change Agreement and subsequently access the green bonds attached to the agreement, the President of Sustainable Energy Practitioners Association of Nigeria (SEPAN), Dr. Chidi Onuoha has said.
Onuoha said in an interaction with THISDAY shortly after the closing ceremony of the sixth edition of the Nigeria Alternative Energy Expo (NAEE) in Abuja, that the decision to allow Nigeria take the lead in West Africa’s desire to tap into the green bond was based on her recent show of passion for renewable energy deployment.
Green bonds are standard bonds with a green as a bonus feature. They were created to fund projects that have positive environmental and/or climate benefits. According to reports, the green bond market which took off in recent years with $42 billion issued in 2015, has continued to grow with issuance in 2016 hitting over $50 billion by September.
Onuoha stated that so far, Nigeria, which recently signed the Paris agreement with the possibility of quickly ratifying it, was better positioned to drive the initiative for West Africa. He said a framework had been set up in this regard.
“The president said in Paris that Nigeria will reduce carbon emission under the climate change agreement by 20 per cent unconditionally, using renewable and energy efficiency sources and ending gas flaring. That is our own Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).
“We have been able to design a framework for Nigeria’s achievement of this NDC. With this, we are going to be able to earn revenue from the carbon market which is huge with billions of dollars,” said Onuoha in his summary of the expo’s overall takeaway.
He said: “If Nigeria ratifies this, the practical aspect of implementing this will attract so much of this funds.We saw the need to set up the West African Emission Trading Association, we have it in South Africa where their cities have green bond initiatives, as well as in East Africa. These are some the things we will use for the Paris agreement and West Africa which sees Nigeria as a hub has asked Nigeria to develop the process, and that is what we have done.”
According to him, “We have been able to set up the West African Emission Trading Association. With this, we want to be ready to tap into the business opportunities that the carbon we save can give us. We want to be able to trade the carbon for money because emission trading is key in this business.”
Onuoha also said operators in Nigeria’s renewable energy sector have decided to continue to push the government to see the economic benefits of supporting the sector. He added that the sector had more potential to employ more people than the oil and gas sector which the government is more interested in.
“We have made sure that renewable energy and energy efficiency has been mainstreamed in Nigeria’s energy policy. The government recently signed a PPA with 14 developers for solar power. This is a good thing and the direction we have been pushing for.
“Because we still have a rent mentality and Nigeria still look to oil as a revenue source, we want the government to begin to drive the narrative that this sector is a huge one. We want Nigerians and government to know there are huge potentials in this sector because for every 1 megawatts deployed, 3000 people are employed in terms of solar installers and technicians amongst others, and that is a constant,” Onuoha added.