By Ediri Ejoh
Despite spending about N1.3 trillion in the past few years on the power sector, the Federal Government has said that it seeking additional $410 billion investment to strengthen the nation’s transmission and distribution infrastructure.
The Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made this known at a virtual event on climate finance themed, Climate Finance and a Just, Equitable Energy Transition for Africa.
According to him, the federal government’s immediate priority is to create 20 million jobs, rebuild industries and add more than 200 Giga Watts of new power capacity, principally utility-scale solar by 2060.
He said, “Nigeria will require huge investments in new infrastructure. We’re going to build more roads, ports, industrial parks and especially power systems. For every Nigerian to consume the modern energy minimum of 1,000kWh per year by 2050 would require a 15-fold increase in our national power generation.
“We will need to upgrade our power infrastructure, especially for transmission and distribution, using a strategic mix of grid and minigrid systems. To be successful we will need partners. The majority of investment in our energy transition will come from our own national resources. But we estimate we need an additional $410 billion above business-as-usual investment to meet our goals.
“If the global energy transition is going to become reality, if we are truly in this climate crisis together, then the priorities of African nations cannot be sidelined. Climate justice must include far greater support for countries with the greatest needs and who contribute the least to global emissions.
“It must include investments, not only to mitigate carbon emissions but also to ensure that developing countries can adapt to the impacts of climate change caused by the rich polluting nations. Climate justice must include ending energy poverty. Anything else would be the opposite of justice.”
Speaking to the issue of a just and equitable transition for Africa and others, the VP said: “What is a just transition for countries with no coal and deep energy poverty?
A just energy transition means something very different for every other African country, including my own country, Nigeria. For us, a just transition means a lot more energy, not less.
“With the impacts of climate change bearing down on us, every nation must have enough energy to build resilient infrastructure, deliver essential public services, and provide the cooling and air conditioning to withstand a warming planet. I’ll say this again: climate justice must include ending energy poverty.”
On expectations at the forthcoming Conference of Parties, in Egypt later in the year, Osinbajo said: “Every nation must play its part in solving the dual crises of global poverty and climate change.
“Africa must be committed to solving both of these emergencies because both poverty and a warming planet affect us more than any other region. We are absolutely clear that Africa must be proactive, we must be assertive of our needs, and we must do a better job of making our views heard. That is what to expect in Egypt.”
Another point raised at the meeting by Osinbajo was the use of alternative technologies. He stressed: “Every country must find its own path to a low carbon future. The EU decision to label both gas and nuclear as green energy is a clear recognition that Europe knows that countries need a wide range of options.
“The United States too has a long-term plan that includes an array of different technologies that meet the needs of diverse communities across the country. Africa too will find its own path. Africa too will use an array of technologies that meet the needs of diverse countries across the continent.”
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