May 24, 2024

Nigeria to hit net-zero economy by 2060 — Shettima


VP Shettima

By Luminous Jannamike

Vice President Kashim Shettima has announced Nigeria’s ambitious plan to become a net-zero economy by 2060.

He made the announcement while delivering a landmark speech at the Energy Transition Symposium organized by Development Agenda held at the Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja on Friday. The theme of the symposium is ‘Energy Transition in an Oil-Dependent Economy’.

The symposium brought together stakeholders from various sectors, including government officials, industry experts, and civil society organizations, to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the energy transition and explore ways to mitigate its negative effects on Nigerians.

Vice President Shettima, represented by Sadiq Wanka, the Special Adviser to the President on Power and Infrastructure, emphasized the need for bold action to address the devastating impact of climate change, while also prioritizing rapid economic development to improve the livelihoods of Nigerians.

He highlighted the country’s current energy challenges, including 45% of the population lacking access to electricity and a significant dependence on biomass for energy generation.

The Vice President outlined the government’s Energy Transition Plan, which aims to balance the need for industrialization and development with critical environmental considerations.

He said, “We find ourselves at a critical juncture, faced with two important priorities that may appear to be in conflict with each other, but with adequate planning and sequencing, are not.

“The first is the need for bold action to stem the deleterious impact of climate change, and the second is the need for rapid economic development that enhances the livelihood of Nigerians.

“Nigeria today has the highest rate of deforestation in the world, as people depend primarily on biomass for energy generation. In the North, desert encroachment is threatening the livelihood of communities, especially in the Lake Chad Basin. In the South, rising sea levels threaten our coastal cities and communities.

“The energy transition plan is very clear on the need for Nigeria to become a net-zero economy by 2060. But it does so with the critical realization that we must maximize our petroleum resources in the short term to provide the base load energy that would turbocharge the economy.”

The plan also involves maximizing petroleum resources in the short term to provide base load energy, followed by a gradual phase-out of fossil fuels post-2030.

VP Shettima noted that the government has already made significant strides in this direction, including the signing of three executive orders in February 2024 to incentivize oil and gas investments, ensure local content requirements do not hamper investments, and reduce contracting costs and timelines.

Additionally, the Climate Change Act signed in 2021 seeks to mainstream climate action into national plans and programs.

The government has also made significant investments in local value chains, including solar panel assembly and lithium processing, and has collaborated with multilateral development banks on electrification projects.

Other speakers at the symposium included Governor Uba Sani of Kaduna State, who highlighted the state’s efforts to transition to renewable energy, particularly solar energy, and the success of the Kaduna Solar for Health program, which has installed 2.3MW of solar power in healthcare facilities across the state.

Represented by the Managing Director of Kaduna Power Supply Company (KAPSCO), Engr. Idris Aminu Idris, the governor said: “In Kaduna State, we have taken advantage of the opportunities presented by the Electricity Act 2023, through developing our electricity policy. Our country requires, for its growth and development, the delivery of affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy for homes and businesses.

“We must therefore take advantage of this opportunity to multiply the pace of delivering energy reliability and sustainability to our citizens. I am convinced that to achieve energy self-sufficiency, universal access, and electricity reliability, especially in Kaduna State, we must establish an electricity market for the State that is self-sustaining, independent, but at the same time environmentally friendly.

“The Kaduna Solar for Health program has installed 2.3MW of solar power in healthcare facilities across the state. The program began with the goal of improving access to healthcare by delivering sustainable, uninterrupted power supply to Primary Healthcare Centers and Maternity Health Clinics across all Local Government Areas in Kaduna State.

“The impacts of the above targets include increased patronage of in-patient visits, improved security in the PHCs, and enhanced night-time healthcare delivery. The Kaduna Solar for Health program has benefited and obtained support from various stakeholders, donor agencies, and the Federal Government of Nigeria because of the clear timelines set and realistic goals that have been attained.”

Mr. Paddy Ezeala, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Development Agenda Magazine, emphasized the need for a just energy transition that benefits all Nigerians, particularly those impacted by the extractive industry.

He stressed the importance of community engagement and participation in the energy transition process.

Ezeala noted, “As the world seeks to pivot away from fossil fuels towards less polluting, cleaner energy sources, countries of the global south and their citizens are palpably disadvantaged – either as inheritors of the burden of extraction or of lack of resources and technology to compete. This speaks to the issue of justice and inclusion in the energy transition paradigm.”

The symposium also featured panel discussions and presentations from industry experts who explored topics such as the impact of the energy transition on communities, the role of renewable energy in Nigeria’s energy mix, and the need for a sustainable energy future.

They unanimously agreed that with the government’s commitment to a net-zero economy by 2060, Nigeria will join the global community in the quest for a sustainable energy future.