Right Policies Will Guarantee Returns on Renewable Energy Investments, Say Experts

Ejiofor Alike

Global financial and power experts have called for specific policies for the development of renewable energy resources in Nigeria to guarantee returns on investments.

The experts made their position known at a panel discussion on ‘Driving Economic Transformation in Global Africa: The Role of Emerging AfriCaribbean Giants’, at the recent 31st Afreximbank Annual Meetings (AAM2024) in Nassau, Bahamas.
Speaking at the panel session, the General Manager of FranzEnergy Limited, Mr. Osi Okonkwo, insisted that some strategies should be put in place to enable renewable energy to go much further down the power value chain.

 “There is a need to delve into the actual production of solar panels, inverters and batteries, on the continent. There is so much more that can be done. But, to do this, when you talk about strategy, a few things need to be done,” he said.
Citing China which just launched a 5,000- Megawatt-capacity solar farm, he said that this capacity was about all of the power supply at the moment in Nigeria.

“So, when you think about the Chinese story, and trying to use that as a template, a few things we have to do.
“There is a need to lean into the transition fuels, gas first, and foremost, then facility, use that as a transition fuel, for cleaner future,” he added.

According to him, there is also a need to depend more on the more consistent replenishable versions of renewables.
“So, we have to think of hydro dams,  geothermal where it is applicable.

“Lean into that first and foremost, because the run-off-the-mill solar farms and wind are more inconsistent,” he added.
Speaking on the issue of policies, Okonkwo said they should be fewer but clear, to allow for meritocracy to access resources, and funding, among others.

He argued that policies should not get to a point where they would interfere and impede private sector ventures, adding that the private sector had a key role to play when it comes to strengthening African Caribbean economies.
On his part, a former President of Afreximbank, Mr. Jean Louis-Ekra, said that it was necessary to change the structures of African economies from an exporting base.

He said basic infrastructure needed to be in place as many countries still lacked power.

“And, you cannot do much transformation without power. We need to take advantage of Afcfta, the issues of moving money among others. Once we have dealt with some of the basics, then we can move forward and very quickly, to exporting among ourselves and take advantage of opportunities in the Caribbean,” he said

On financial and institutional measures that could be implemented for change in terms of economic diversification in Africa, when it comes to finance, he said that Africans had not done enough to use their financial resources.

“We need to generate resources before we talk about financing. I believe we have not harnessed enough of our resources in our continent, to make it available to financial institutions so they can finance the change.’’

However, Director, Bono Energy, Dr. Kingsley Mordi, restated the importance of putting basic infrastructure in place, insisting that energy remained one of the critical things to put in place.

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