By Prince Okafor
IN a bid to meet the ‘Sustainable Energy For All’ (SE4ALL) benchmark set by the federal government, stakeholders in the renewable energy sub-sector have called on the federal government to provide enabling environment to engender development.
The Campaign Director for ‘Power For All’ in Nigeria, Ify Malo, said the federal government should decentralize the sub-sector so as to augment the weakened national grid as well as improve energy access in the country.
According to her, “Decentralized renewables are the fastest, most cost-effective path to modern energy services in emerging markets and they remain a potent platform for job growth and are an impact multiplier for more resilient and self-sufficient economies.”More importantly in the case of Nigeria, decentralized renewable can act as a buffer to the weakened grid and accelerate energy access across the country.”
Also, Emeka Okpukpara of the Nextier Power noted that, the ongoing economic recession, especially the decline in Nigeria’s foreign currency exchange rate happened to be the most significant challenge faced by Nigeria’s renewable energy industry in 2016.
According to him, “while the cost of delivering renewable energy (such as solar panels) is declining globally, there has been a near doubling in price of these components over the last 12 months in Nigeria.”
He stressed that “There are fears of significant delays in completing the solar power plants. Given that most renewable energy components are imported, the current FOREX challenges are negatively impacting the implementation plans of several of the aforementioned renewable energy companies.”
For Jeremy Gaines, Coordinator, Nigerian-German Energy Partnership, government should encourage more construction and development in renewable energy. “We should see the construction of utility-scale solar PV plants. More will be needed if the Federal Government is to meet the benchmark it has set for itself in the SE4ALL strategy.”
“However, as in 2016 the key issue will be the availability of foreign currency to pay for the technology and the availability of loans for prospective owners.”