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How Serious is Government on Renewable Energy ?

President Goodluck Jonathan

“The government is dead serious about renewable energy which includes wind, solar and a lot of people are coming up with proposals for solar electricity as well as hydro. We are not just looking at the big hydro plants; we are also focusing on small hydro plants that will also empower the rural communities in the country,” he had said. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country with a population of 167 million people, but at least 120 million Nigerians have no access to electricity, the minister was reported to have said last week.

Nebo noted that the federal government was working hard to ensure that the abandoned rural electrification projects in the country are completed as it has revived the hitherto moribund Rural Electrification Agency. “There is no way we can bring industries to the rural areas or even make farmers have a complete value chain agricultural system without electricity. Electricity is key to farm products preservation, processing, packaging and value addition.”

Continuing, he said: “Today, we generate over 4,000 megawatts (MW). Within a year, it will rise to 10,000 MW and all these NIPP projects are going to be sold. We are not only thinking about gas to power, but a good energy mix that will include gas, hydro, solar, wind, biomass and so on. We are moving in that direction. Mambila is on course. Zungeru, which the President flagged off recently, is on course. Mambila when completed will generate 3,050 MW while Zungeru 700MW. These are hydro projects.”

BusinessDay had reported last Thursday that venture capitalists, banks were showing keen interest in financing renewable energy projects in the country, according to stakeholders who spoke at a Business Lunch on “Financing Renewable Energy in Nigeria” organised by AHK Delegation of German Industry and Commerce in Nigeria.

But the risks arising from the political and economic uncertainties in the nation were said to have been a huge disincentive to a number of renewable energy investors who have been looking to invest in the country, which was ranked one of the four top investment destinations and growth areas in the world by a leading global audit, finance and tax advisory firm KPMG in March 2013.

Investors need more guarantees that their projects will not suffer losses from political or legal changes and uncertainties in the country. Stakeholders have stressed the need for government to step in and promote the development of the country’s vast renewable energy by creating an enabling and sound investment environment and favourable policies to guarantee financial rewards like tax exemptions and renewable energy credits.

Source: Nigeria Power Reform