By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA— ACTING President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said, yesterday, that government would soon release the second tranche of N701 billion for Power Assurance Guarantee approved by the Federal Executive Council in March this year for the Bulk Electricity Trading, NBET, Plc.
This is even as government said it was set to embark on a broader restructuring of the electricity sector to achieve a more systematic development in renewable energy.
The Federal Government had through NBET earlier this month, released the first tranche of about N12 billion to 10 GenCos from the N701billion intervention fund.
Osinbajo, who disclosed this at the inaugural event of the Nigerian Renewable Energy Roundtable organised by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, in partnership with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, NESG, at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, said it was expected that the release of the funds would free up the value chain that had created several problems of its own.
He said government was exploring investment opportunities for revolving funds for solar and other renewable sources of energy to break the deadlock of electricity market structures through competitions to ensure that renewable energy became an engine of growth for Nigeria’s economy.
According to him, government will partner the private sector to create the framework for real-world business cases by developing standardized technology packages, standardised contracts and a toolkit for energy cooperatives (with technical, institutional, financing and legal elements).
Prof Osinbajo said: “We hope that this injection will help. We are also looking at several other reforms in the sector, hoping that the market can become self-sustaining, independent and run on its own and free up all of the private sector energy that is waiting to come into the market.
“We want to embark on a broader restructuring of the electricity sector and strive to achieve a more systematic development power market design especially for renewable energy.”
He further stressed the need for the relevant authorities to come up with a framework that would bring together all stakeholders towards ensuring that renewable energy became a real engine of growth for the Nigerian economy.
“We have mentioned several of the plans, the power sector plans and so many of those initiatives. The latest is to break the gridlock in the liquidity of the entire electricity value chain and so our payment assurance system of over N701 billion has been approved by the Federal Executive Council and, in fact, the first payment has been made, we are on to make up the second payment.
“We hope that we free up that value chain which has created several problems of its own and we hope that this injection will help. We are also looking at several other reforms in the sector, hoping that the market can become self sustaining, independent and run on its own and free up all of the private sector energy that is waiting to come into the market.
“We also need to explore the opportunities for revolving funds for solar PV/wind projects as well as opportunities for other investment remuneration mechanisms.
“It is also very important that we break the deadlock of electricity market structures by exploring the options to transform the “competition for markets” approach, continue to embark on a broader restructuring of the electricity sector and strive to achieve a more systematic development of the power market design, especially for renewable energy.”
The Acting President also noted that as a multi-stakeholder platform, the Nigerian Renewable Energy Roundtable, has its work cut out for it, which is to champion this new vision for renewable energy and ensure that we can translate theory to practice for the greater good of the people of Nigeria.
He said, “To do that, we need a framework that brings and keeps all stakeholders together towards ensuring that renewable energy becomes an engine of growth for Nigeria’s economy.”
Osinbajo said it was the plan of the administration to expand the Solar Home System program to one million households, creating a few more million jobs and that the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was interested in lighting up more rural communities like Wuna, an agrarian village in the Gwagalada Local Government Council of Abuja, which until two years ago was not on national grid and had no other source of light.
Earlier in his goodwill message, Chairman, Senate Committee on Science and Technology, Ajayi Boroface, expressed the readiness of the N