W’Bank report indicates Nigeria is doing far less to expand energy access

A recent study released by the World Bank on the policy and regulatory support provided by countries to expand citizens’ access to sustainable energy, has placed Nigeria far below in doing enough to give her people sustainable electricity.

Measuring the compliance readiness of 111 countries to the United Nations ratified Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7, which agrees to: “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all,” the report found Nigeria to be amongst a few countries at the highest risk of energy deficiency and access.

It also stated that Nigeria has, “barely begun to establish an enabling environment for energy access.”

The study utilized a policy assessment tool known as ‘RISE’ (Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy), which uses 27 indicators and 80 sub-indicators to score countries on their policy and regulatory support for sustainable energy on three cardinal points namely: access to modern energy, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.

According to it, Nigeria’s energy shortcomings are most prominent in energy efficiency planning – a concept the International Energy Agency (IEA) described as restraining the growth of energy consumption for the benefit of saving costs and reducing carbon emissions harmful to the earth.

Nigeria was scored an abysmal 10.58% out of a possible 100% in energy efficiency, following the zero marks she got in the subcategories – national energy efficiency planning, energy efficiency entities, large consumers incentives and mandates, public sector incentives and mandates, utilities, financing mechanisms for energy efficiency, minimum energy efficiency performance standards, energy labeling systems, building energy codes, and carbon pricing.

It however rated the government’s efforts at providing information about electricity usage quite highly and slightly lauded the incentives for electricity rate structure.

But these remained the only bright spots in the brutal assessment which asserts that the framework of Nigeria’s energy plan lacks any discernible comprehensive planning to become more energy efficient.

According to it, there is no existing legislation or governmental facility to this effect nor, is there any specialized consideration to distinguish between residential and commercial energy needs.

The report further lampooned the seeming lack of transparency in the operations of the energy sector, marking that the largest companies in generation, distribution, transmission and retail do not have their financial records available to the public.

Specifically on the government’s efforts on renewable energy, the RISE report showed that though the government created a target it wants to achieve from renewable energy (18,508 megawatts), it however has no action plan on how it will get there using renewable energy neither has it published specially researched findings on the viability of solar, wind and hydro systems in certain areas.

It affirmed that this is notwithstanding the availability of these renewable energy resources in harness-able quantities across the country.

For energy access in Nigeria which it also critiqued, and awarded Nigeria’s energy pricing scale full marks, it berated the lack of a fully thought out execution of the government’s attempt to establish and incorporate mini-grids into the energy mix.

Basic requirements such as safety standards of mini-grids, the tariff schedules of mini-grids or even what happens when mini-grids and the national grid intersect have not been fully or properly dealt with by the estimation of the RISE report.

The report in a nutshell demanded a more detailed and better thought out approach from Nigeria to her energy challenge, detailing transparency, creditworthiness and economic viability, legal frameworks and oversight institutions as other key aspects that require improvements for the prosperity of the energy industry.