By MICHAEL EBOH
Promoters of the Bank of Industry/United Nation’s Development Programme’s, UNDP, Access to Renewable Energy, AtRE project, have cited lack of finance and funding as the major factor hindering the development of renewable energy in Nigeria.
Speaking at a BOI Forum in Lagos, Mr. Lawal Gada, Renewable Energy Manager/Acting Project Manager, BOI/UNDP AtRE Project, disclosed that renewable energy finance is almost non-existent in Nigeria, adding that most of the projects developed are either government sponsored or financed from private sources.
He expressed concern that despite the fact that Nigeria’s potential household energy market is worth $1.5 billion, banks’ funding for renewable energy projects in the country is inadequate, due to a number of factors ranging from perceived risks to dearth of long term funding.
Apart for lack of finance, Gada identified other challenges to include lack of standards for renewable products, technical know-how of industry players, awareness on positive impact of renewable energy and sustainability of the projects.
He disclosed that the AtRE project was initiated in continuation of UNDP’s support to private sector development, especially Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises, MSME development and United Nation’s commitment towards ensuring universal access to modern energy services.
He said the UNDP/BOI AtRE programme is an intervention project aimed at expanding renewable energy services for rural and peri-urban MSMEs, adding that the project aims to facilitate investment in renewable energy options and linkages for enterprise development.
He noted that BOI was chosen as the Implementing Agency (IA) for the project because of its strategic position between the financial institutions, MSMEs and overnment.
He disclosed that the objectives of the AtRE programme include:
•To foster pro-development energy services by facilitating an expansion of renewable energy services accessible to MSME
•Support renewable energy investments by building up capacity within the financial sector as well as among users and providers of energy services, and
•To promote policies and institutional frameworks for an inclusive renewable energy market development.
Gada further said that the AtRE project aims at improving access to reliable and renewable energy service options for MSMEs; develop capacity of stakeholders to facilitate investments in renewable energy sector as well as establish and maintain policy level dialogue.
He said the project will also drive economic development through empowering MSMEs, ensure job creation, alleviate poverty and help drive financial inclusion.
He further said that the project will help Nigeria achieve the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs, improve the environment and reduce rural-urban migration.