SEPAN wraps up 6th RE expo, seeks defined sector mainstreaming

Says Nigeria will lead West Africa’s green bonds quest

The 6th Nigeria Alternative Energy Expo (NAEE) organised by the Sustainable Energy Practitioners Association of Nigeria (SEPAN) on Friday came to a close with fresh demands on the federal government to suitably mainstream the Renewable Energy (RE) sector into Nigeria’s economic plan.

RE promoters at the three-day expo expressed the need for Nigeria to formally recognise the potentials of RE to contribute to the country’s wider economy.

According to them, the sector can apart from its potentials to cut the country’s poor energy access, it could also create up to 2.4 million new jobs for Nigerians.

OGN also gathered from SEPAN president, Dr. Chidi Onuoha that Nigeria will be leading West African countries to implement the Paris climate change agreement and subsequently access the green bonds that are associated with the agreement.

Onuoha said the decision to allow Nigeria take the lead in West Africa’s desire to tap into the green bond was based on her recent show of passion for renewable energy deployment.

Green bonds are standard bonds with green as a bonus feature. They were created to fund projects that have positive environmental and/or climate benefits. According to reports, the green bond market which took off in recent years with $42 billion issued in 2015, has continued to grow with issuance in 2016 topping $50 billion by September.

“We have made sure that renewable energy and energy efficiency have been mainstreamed in Nigeria’s energy policy. The government recently signed a PPA with 14 developers for solar power. This is a good thing and the direction we have been pushing for.

“We want the government to begin to drive the narrative that this sector is a huge one. This is a sector that can create up to 2.4 million new jobs for Nigeria. We want the government to recognise this and create an enabling environment for promoters,” said Onuoha.

“For every 1 megawatts of power that you develop in this sector, you are creating 3000 jobs. How many of these jobs can the conventional power sector create or even the oil sector created in over 50 years of its operation in Nigeria – not more than 50,000 jobs,” he added.

He said SEPAN, as part of its resolution at the expo, will be pushing for improved local content in the country’s RE sector. He noted that based on the country’s experience with the oil industry, the association has opted to close gaps and avoid unhealthy practices by foreign operators in the sector.

Speaking on the green bond, Onuoha said because Nigeria recently signed the Paris agreement and demonstrated its intention to quickly ratify it, its West African neighbours asked it to drive the initiative on their behalf.

“The president said in Paris that Nigeria will reduce carbon emission under the climate change agreement by 20 per cent unconditionally, using renewable and energy efficiency sources and ending gas flaring. That is our own Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).

“We have been able to design a framework for Nigeria’s achievement of this NDC. With this, we are going to be able to earn revenue from the carbon market which is huge with billions of dollars,” Onuoha explained.

“If Nigeria ratifies this, the practical aspect of implementing this will attract so much of this funds.

“We saw the need to set up the West African Emission Trading Association. These are some the things we will use for the Paris agreement, and West Africa which sees Nigeria as a hub has asked Nigeria to develop the process, and that is what we have done.

“We have been able to set up the West African Emission Trading Association. With this, we want to be ready to tap into the business opportunities that the carbon we save can give us. We want to be able to trade the carbon for money because emission trading is key in this business,” he stated.