Solar Powered Street Light in Niger Delta: The NDDC Initiative

 By Willie Etim

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is leading Nigeria’s charge in renewable energy implementation. 

Dr. Sam Ogbuku, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of NDDC, has embarked on the implementation of the “Lighting Up the Niger Delta Project”, which aims to light up every community in the region. 

In pursuing this ambitious and innovative program, the commission plans to adopt measures to promote the use of clean energy as part of the solution to global climate change. 

Solar-powered energy usage is not new to the world, as it is used to power devices, homes, and offices. Solar street lights will serve the same purpose, and the unparalleled quality and high efficient ability of solar light make it the best choice for the Lighting Up the Niger Delta project undertaken by NDDC.

Incidentally, solar power has inherent advantages that make it an attractive option for government and private sector organizations eager to reduce their carbon footprints.

Nigeria, especially the Niger Delta region, is not insulated from this global phenomenon, and this is evident in rising temperatures, intense rainfall, producing large runoffs and flooding, rising sea levels, drought, and desertification, land degradation, and more frequent extreme weather events. 

To protect our environment and ecosystem from the ravages associated with climate change and achieve the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in Nigeria, former President, Muhammadu Buhari, signed the country’s climate change bill into law on November 18, 2021.

The law provides, among other things, for an ambitious framework for mainstreaming climate actions in line with national development priorities and sets a net-zero target of 2050-2070.

NDDC is leading the charge to tackle this global problem in the country with its campaign to light up the entire Niger Delta region. 

Managing Director of NDDC, Dr. Sam Ogbuku, assured that the commission will continue to adopt measures to promote the use of clean energy as part of the solution to global climate change.

Reflecting on the gains from the climate change Conference, COP 29, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, he stressed the need for a permanent solution to the environmental challenge faced by the Niger Delta region as a result of crude oil exploration and exploitation. 

Also, at a recent presentation by a renewable energy expert, Asteven International Company, on Renewable Energy and Carbon Credit, at the commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt, Dr. Ogbuku said, “Our target is to ensure that every community in the Niger Delta region is powered by solar, which is a renewable and cheap form of energy.”

In addition to lighting up the region, the commission will also create industrial clusters that will be powered by solar, which will help improve the agricultural value chain. According to him, solar power has the dual benefit of providing needed projects for the people and building NDDC’s carbon credits, and the commission expects to recover the carbon credits trapped in some of these projects.

Under the leadership of Dr. Samuel Ogbuku, NDDC has installed about 56,786 solar street lights across communities within the NDDC mandate states.

The investments in solar energy by NDDC align with the objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Goals, which are crucial as they provide a comprehensive framework for sustainable development, including climate action.

Several SGDs directly relate to climate change and renewable energy, such as SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and SDG 13 (Climate Action). By investing in solar energy and carbon credits, the NDDC will be contributing to achieving these goals.

Carbon credits are tradable certificates that represent the reduction or removal of greenhouse gas emissions. By executing projects that reduce emissions or enhance carbon sinks, NDDC will earn carbon credits that can be sold in the international carbon market. 

This will not only generate revenue for the Commission, it will reduce its on dependence on funding from government and the oil companies.

To further strengthen the Commission’s determination to adopt the clean energy approach in its operation, a renewable energy consultants advised the NDDC to come up with a strategic plan to incorporate clean energy in its projects cutting across buildings, agriculture, transportation, energy, environment, health and education.

This is relatively important because all the sectors as listed have huge components of renewable energy assets and carbon benefits with trapped values that the Commission must seek to recover.

In a recent interaction with NDDC officials, the President of the Council on Renewable Energy, Dr Sunny Akpoyibo, observed that the Commission had executed many projects that have substantial carbon values.

He said; “The NDDC is a global brand and if it adopts green projects, it will resonate globally. That way, it can unlock the trapped values in its projects.”

Unlocking the trapped value in its projects means leveraging the potential benefits that may be currently underutilized or overlooked.

The Executive Director of Asteven Group, an indigenous renewable company, Prof Magnus Onuoba, said that the Commission was well positioned to unlock the $2-Billion carbon investment in the Niger Delta region.

To achieve this he said NDDC must develop a greenhouse gas baseline across the energy and agricultural sectors, noting that a feasibility study will determine what could be achieved through a baseline study in the area of decarbonization and afforestation.

Prof Onuoha, promised that the consultancy firm would evaluate and reposition the existing renewable energy projects and programmes and extract trapped values as well as operationalize the carbon credit framework for the Commission.

The NDDC needs to set up a system that will enable it to get global visibility for taking the leadership in the Niger Delta to combat climate change”.

 Etim Williams is the Chief Press Secretary to the MD of NDDC from Port Harcourt.

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