Ade Yesufu: Linking Stakeholders with Investors to Boost Energy Sector
The Nigeria Energy conference will boost the energy sector by linking stakeholders with investors – Ade Yesufu
Nigeria Energy is the leading energy platform gathering contractors, developers, investors, project owners and utilities to meet and develop reliable power solutions for the country’s peak energy demand and pave the way for decentralisation. Its 2022 flagship conference will bring together key stakeholders from Nigeria’s energy sector, from government ministries and regulators to gas companies supplying fuel to grid-connected plants to independent power producers, distribution companies and the bodies mandated to facilitate the development of renewable energy and off-grid solutions. The strategic conference will provide a platform for the public and private sector in Nigeria to engage with international energy leaders and investors, not only offering a stage to share knowledge but a platform for developing solutions and forming partnerships to meet Nigeria’s energy challenges.In this interview, Ade Yesufu, Exhibition Director, Energy Portfolio – MEA, Informa Markets, speaks on how this event aims to boost the current state of the energy sector in Nigeria through the flagship conference, why stakeholders should be a part of the conference, what it hopes to achieve, and plans for the future. Precious Ugwuzor brings excerpts
The Nigerian Energy conference is returning since it was rebranded from Power Nigeria. What does the conference hope to achieve, and what is the agenda for this year?
The Nigeria Energy conference aims to support the energy sector in achieving its power supply goals. Power capacity within the industry currently fluctuates at 3000-4000 megawatts, which means the sector can only dispatch around 4,000 MW, significantly insufficient for a country of over 195 million people.
The critical issue that stakeholders are currently debating is, “how do we increase capacity in the power sector power capacity in Nigeria?” The Nigeria Energy conference aims to help the government manifest its vision by collaborating with international and local stakeholders, including manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers of certain products that range from conventional generation methods to renewable energy technologies. The agenda also helps create a marketplace for industry players to network and find solutions to the lingering issues within the Energy sector.
What is the sector’s primary challenge, and how does the Nigerian Energy conference aim to address this?
There might be different opinions on the challenges for distribution, transmission, and generation companies. However, I think the main challenge is all stakeholders’ determination to address the situation by creating an enabling environment for investors to thrive in the sector. That is, building confidence for investors to get involved. We know that many investors are interested in the Nigerian market because they see an opportunity in the market.
The Nigeria Energy conference would not just create an entry point for investors but would also bring technology into play. With the government now looking to use digitalisation to solve challenges in the sector, the agenda touches on how we can integrate new technologies to enhance the installed capacity. Conversations will be shaped around diversifying the investments and embracing renewable sources for Nigeria to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by the year 2050.
In the past, Nigeria Energy conferences have been credited with an exciting mix of speakers and exhibitors. What is the lineup for this edition, and how are they identified?
During the Middle East Energy conference in Dubai, we hosted a Nigeria-focused session with a delegation from the Nigerian government, Private sector, Investors and End Users, discussing the potential opportunities in the Nigerian power sector.
Together, the expert group formed an advisory board for Nigeria Energy 2022, representing private and public sectors, and guided us in shaping the conference agenda. The advisory board has done a phenomenal job identifying the event’s key themes and the areas we need to address.
The Honourable Minister of Power – Engr. Abubakar D. Aliyu, Director of Investment – Engr. Faruk Yusuf Yabo and Ag., Director of Renewables – Engr. Abubakar Ali, both at the Federal Ministry of Power and MD, Transmission Company of Nigeria – Engr. (Dr.) S.A. Abdulaziz, MD of Rural Electrification Agency – Ahmad Salihijo and others have been very supportive and committed to helping the event grow. The Federal Government recently launched a new central data management system portal that will help improve the power supply in the country; hence their crucial focus at the event is pushing an agenda for the digital transformation of the power sector, and we are about to experience some fundamental changes.
The strategic conference will provide a platform for the public and private sector in Nigeria to engage with international energy leaders and investors, not only offering a stage to share knowledge but a platform for developing solutions and forming partnerships to meet Nigeria’s energy challenges.
Asides from the list of speakers, what do you consider unique about the Nigeria Energy conference, and why should industry stakeholders participate?
One of the reasons the Nigeria Energy conference is exclusive is because it is organised by Informa Markets, a world-class event organiser. Informa Markets’ leading energy events include Middle East Energy, with a legacy of 47 years and Egypt Energy, with 30 years across MEA, contributing to the sustainable evolution of the industry.
Leveraging our track record and longevity of producing world-class events through the years with exhibitors and partners from around the world, we are confident of delivering the same in Nigeria, with Nigeria Energy now in its 9th year running. With our close collaboration with local/International stakeholders and their trust in us along with commitment to bringing a lasting solution to lingering power challenges in Nigeria, Nigeria Energy remains the only platform for stakeholders to engage, showcase products & solutions and network with the industry peers and visionaries, all under one roof.
What progressive trends have you seen globally that the Nigerian energy sector needs to adopt?
Nigeria has established its position well by integrating renewable energy into its mix and collaborating closely with the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) by offering alternate solutions to electrical problems. The Ministry is committed, keen and vested in ensuring the Nigerian energy sector reaches a stage where there is significant improvement.
Adoption of mini grids is key for the sector. With that in mind, the recent electricity bill passed by the Senate Committee on Power led by Senator Gabriel Suswam in July 2022, allowing states and individuals to generate and distribute electricity, is a game changer for the country. This bill gives legal backing to renewable energy, which means that if you decide to generate 1 M.W. of power using solar source, that is also provided for, according to the lawmaker, the bill would improve utilisation of generated power through increased investments in new technologies to enhance transmission and distribution of generated power to minimise aggregate value chain loses.
The bill will help revive the institutional framework for the reform of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), initiated and implemented by the federal government and also sought to promote policies and regulatory measures that would ensure the expansion of power transmission networks in Nigeria in order to address any imbalance in the existing transmission infrastructure.
What are your predictions for the next 10 years regarding the Nigerian energy sector?
I see the Nigerian energy sector reaching a point where technology and renewables will fundamentally disrupt the Nigerian power sector. I foresee energy access being facilitated by technology and renewables allowing Nigerians to have reliable access to power.
What kind of technology or innovations should participants expect from the exhibition?
Advances in electric metering firms, transmission technologies, distribution improvements, backup generators and critical power solutions and solar among other things. Depending on what the visitors are looking out for in the power sector, they can be sure to find it at Nigerian Energy.
What is Informa Markets’ plan for Nigeria in the next coming years?
Along with Nigeria Energy, Informa Markets currently organises Medic West Africa to provide reliable healthcare solutions for the country, and the group intends to grow further leveraging on the success of these flagship events and expand its full potential in the territory representing other sectors such as Food, Agriculture, Real Estate etc. that would be introduced in the near future.
I see the Nigerian energy sector reaching a point where technology and renewables will fundamentally disrupt the Nigerian power sector. I foresee energy access being facilitated by technology and renewables allowing Nigerians to have reliable access to power