SEPAN asks FG to retool REA, set up a ‘one-stop’ green desk

The Sustainable Energy Practitioners Association of Nigeria (SEPAN) wants the federal government to retool its Rural Electrification Agency (REA) to make it procure and undertake only renewable energy projects to close the huge electricity access gap in rural areas of Nigeria.

SEPAN also requested that the government set up a ‘one-stop’ green energy desk at the ministry of finance, to act as the interface between RE investors and it on RE investment opportunities in the country.

A communique issued by SEPAN at the end of its three-day conference – the Nigerian Alternative Energy Expo (NAEE) 2016 in Abuja contained a list of resolutions reached by its members on improving Nigeria’s RE sector.

Signed by Dr. Magnus Onuoha, SEPAN President, Suleiman Yussuf, its Secretary, Larry Edeh, its Communication head, and Dr. Sunny Akpoyibo, its Head CSR/Finance, the communique however recognised the efforts of the government to increase Nigeria’s RE footprints, but asked that key policy actions be taken to solidify the efforts.

“That the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) should re-invent itself as the Renewable Energy Development Agency and focus on the promotion of off-grid, mini-grid renewable energy solutions working with the private sectors investors to achieve fast rural electrification,” said SEPAN in the communique.

It further stated: “That the renewable energy and energy efficient policy will only be more potent if it is backed by law”.

“This will boost access to energy services and ensure the sustainable growth of clean energy contribution to Nigeria’s energy mix and attract investors to the sector. Therefore SEPAN will support and encourage the Climate Change Bill (2016) on the floor of the National Assembly which seeks to give legal teeth to sustainable agriculture, renewable energy and infrastructure, among others.”

It also called on the government to, “fine tune its industrial waste management practices to enable her tap on the future electronic waste fortune.”

On improved investment climate, SEPAN asked: “That the federal government through Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) with the support from Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) should oversee the importation of quality renewable energy products into the country.”

It explained that importation of substandard RE products has given genuine investors in the sector a bad name.

The association equally requested: “That there should be one stop desk office in the Federal Ministry of Finance. This office should serve as first point of call for local and local investors on green growth projects to explore challenges and opportunities in Nigeria.”

It also stated that the regulatory environment for RE should be improved on by the NERC, in addition to setting up a Nigerian content policy in the renewable and energy efficient sector to take care of investments from developers and oil companies that are coming into the sector.