PwC identifies strategies to achieving universal access to electricity
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has identified five-point plan to achieve universal access to electricity.PwC in a report titled: “Electricity beyond the grid: accelerating access to sustainable power for all”, listed the solutions to include development of a national integrated energy access plan and map; creating an enabling environment for off grid initiatives; and establishing an off grid development and innovation fund.
Others are recognising the value of and promote the growth of mobile infrastructure and payment platforms in supporting energy access and having a high-level energy access champion who can drive results.
The report said that the time was right for policymakers in Nigeria to reappraise their approach to energy access.It noted that on current trends, two-thirds of the world’s population would remain without electricity by 2030, which is the target year to achieve the newly agreed post-2015 UN Sustainable Development Goal of universal access to energy.
Partner and lead, Power & Utilities, Pedro Omontuemhen, PwC Nigeria said: “For the millions of people who don’t currently have access to electricity, the old assumption that they will have to wait for grid extensions is being turned on its head by new technological possibilities.
There are currently 634 million people without electricity in Africa and in Nigeria we estimate that only one in five people has access to power from the electricity grid. This leaves four in five people living in urban and rural communities having to fend for themselves with makeshift and localised power solutions. Faster progress is needed, and we believe it can be achieved if national energy policies adopt a more comprehensive approach to energy access, embracing the new starting points for energy provided by standalone renewable technology and mini-grids.”
Associate Director in the firm’s advisory practice, Olumide Adeosun, said: “It is critical that Nigerians take steps to understand and embrace the new starting points for energy provided by stand-alone renewable technology and mini-grids as discussed in this report. We believe these solutions provide a viable, bottom-up solution to the patchy availability of electricity in Nigeria.
Some of the enablers, such as a mature mobile payment platforms and data analytics capabilities are already in place. Others will require Investors and communities engaging policy makers to formulate an integrated energy access strategy, then working together in their communities to accelerate momentum in the electrification of Nigeria’s urban and semi-rural locations.”
Concluding Omontuemhen noted: “All or nothing’ approaches that focus primarily on the national grid are increasingly out of step to what is now possible in power technology. Advances in technology are rapidly changing the options available beyond the grid. Falling solar technology costs have spurred the growth of standalone home systems and are changing the economics of mini-grid systems. Battery storage technology is fast evolving to the point where it is going to play a significant role in utility-scale solar power storage and is beginning to feature in smaller-scale off-grid solutions. Together with access to mobile technology and mobile payment systems for microloans, a new era has arrived for beyond the grid electrification.”