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EU allocates 700m euros to develop sustainable energy in Nigeria

The European Union (EU) says  it has so far committed  over 700 million euros  for the development of  sustainable energy in Nigeria and other ECOWAS countries from 2014 to 2020.

The Head of Cooperation, EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Kurt Cornelis, said this in Abuja on Monday at a workshop on policy and regulation for clean energy mini-grids and renewable energy in ECOWAS region.

Cornelis said access to electricity and promotion of sustainable energy solutions were at the core of EU’s cooperation with the region, hence the provision of the grants to ECOWAS countries.

He said given the challenge in the electricity production, there was the urgent need to address the energy deficit, using the various energy mix in the region.

“We all know that the challenges are considerable; we also know that on-grid solutions alone cannot solve the problems and that the right mix of on grid and off-grid interventions has to be found.

Cornelis  also said that there was the need to ensure a strong political will through the  formulation and implementation of a solid regulatory and policy framework for the sector.

He said that a stable environment for trade and investment, improved capacities and necessary funding were required for the development of the sector.

He added that the EU, with partner countries and donor agencies, were committed to promoting renewable energy solutions to expand  access to electricity in the region.

“The EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility is a good example of a multi-donor initiative established with the aim to promote coherent, effective and efficient European energy development cooperation.“

According to him, another 360 million euros was   currently on the verge of being disbursed through a financial instrument called Africa Investment Facility (AFIF) to further improve energy and transportation in the ECOWAS.

He said there was the need for new partnerships to mobilise private resources and apply innovative financing models, noting that EU was also proposing an ambitions external investment plan.

This, he said, would require the full participation and partnership of the private sector.

“The EU is planning to mobilise considerable funding to support this trend and allow the private sector to invest in the area of renewable energies,“ he said.

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said that Nigerian government was focused on improving power supply in the country.

Fashola, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Louis Edozie, said that  the two subjects of  renewable energy and mini grids were very important to the government of Nigeria.

He said the development of renewable energy and mini grids were important elements in  improving electricity in Nigeria.

The minister said that the legal frame work for the takeoff of renewable energy and mini grid has been  established in the country.

He said that the framework was designed to bring together, government, private developers , financiers, to  improve power supply in the country.

Fashola also told participants that a regulatory frame work for the sector had also been established by the government.

“We have a regulator in place. and  we have  at least three important policies  that are quite relevant,

“The first is the independent electricity distribution network regulation  policy which is well established in Nigeria, we have the mini grids regulation that is  already established.

“The third regulatory framework is the directive that have been given by the minster that allows  some customers to procure the power they want as an eligible customer, so this three policies are already established.”

According to him, what was required was the practical transactions  on the already established polices by stakeholders.

“What we need is transactions  based on this polices, and our observation is that that is the main impediment to this transaction right now.

“There is the need for regulators, financiers, lenders, off takers, project developers to  see the benefits in the contractual agreements and regulatory agreements .

Fashola advised the participants  to focus on measures to ensure the implementation of the contractual framework to unleash the creative  energies in the renewable energies and mini grids.

He expressed hope that the workshop would   evolve  workable mechanisms  to  meet the contractual framework designed to develop  renewable energy and mini grids in the ECOWAS region

(Source: NAN)


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Tokunbo David
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