Investors seek framework for renewable energy sector
Investors have expressed concerns about the lack of framework in the country’s renewable energy sector, saying its absence poses a disadvantage to the investment environment.
These observations, alongside others were made at the ongoing Nordic -Nigeria Connect, titled: Innovating for Change, organised by the Norwegian Embassy in support with the Sweden, Finland, and Denmark embassies.
According to the Country Manager, Equinor Nigeria, Heine Melkevik, renewables in Nigeria have great potential especially in the areas of solar and wind, however the absence of a framework for the sector is a limitation for investors like them.
He said without a roadmap in the industry, finding ways to maximise and distribute energy from these sources would be challenging.
Melkevik added: “It is very important that this new industry should be regulated because it is necessary to have a national road map, like a framework on electricity and energy solutions, the pricing mechanism, financial, fiscal and political frameworks surrounding activities around the sector are the kind of big issues to be sorted out.
“For investors, nurturing the investment environment through guidelines to streamline operations is a good basis for collaborations to enhance win-win situations among the various partners, as without it, it would be difficult for investors to operate.”
In her remarks, the Defence Secretary for the Embassy of Norway, Aida Ghebreselasie, said investors are seeking to expand in areas like energy, seafood and shipping, and maritime, while the focus on energy is on renewable. This is because the viability has been supported by a lot of feasibility studies, with a lot of renewable energy actors in East Africa shifting focus to West Africa and Nigeria particularly.
Comparing Norway’s hydropower to Nigeria’s, she noted that they both have similar type of resources, but in terms of sustainability, Norway is planning to go from oil to gas and to renewables.
In terms of innovation, the Finland Ambassador to Nigeria, Jyrki Pulkkinen, stressed the importance of using technology to produce smart energy, as it is not only about consumption, but making a smart grid where even the producers of such can sell back to the national grid.
This, he said, would create a two-way energy grid system where operators of off grid solutions sell power to main grid operators and vice versa, to balance the energy needs and supply in different parts of the country.
However, he noted that excessive reliance on renewables might not necessarily be good for the climate in the long run because of the emission of carbon monoxide, and in a country like Nigeria where the climate change is harsh; it won’t be too good.