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Nigeria’s dream to achieve universal energy access by 2030 receives boost

By Opeyemi Babalola
13 February 2022   |   2:47 am
Data play a critical role in planning. It was, therefore, not surprising when the Federal Government launched the Nigeria Integrated Energy Planning Tool in collaboration with Sustainable Energy

[FILES] Osinbajo. Photo/ facebook/professoryemiosinbajo

Data play a critical role in planning. It was, therefore, not surprising when the Federal Government launched the Nigeria Integrated Energy Planning Tool in collaboration with Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL). With support from the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet and funding from The Rockefeller Foundation, this tool makes use of geospatial data and modelling to provide a low-cost, dynamic, and data-driven way of identifying the mix of technologies and the spending required to achieve universal energy access by 2030. OPEYEMI BABALOLA reports.

The Nigeria Integrated Energy Planning Tool (IEP) is projected to be an exemplar of a world-class IEP that includes electrification, clean cooking, and productive use. It is made to identify cost-effective solutions to meet the demand for a variety of energy services. In addition, the plan also models a variety of scenarios to deliver these solutions.

 
Launched by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, alongside global leaders in the energy sector, the tool is the first wholly integrated energy planner for Nigeria. While traditional energy plans focus primarily on electrification, the Nigeria IEP includes electrification, clean cooking, and productive uses for the entire country.

Through this online geospatial visualisation platform, energy access data, analysis, and results are publicly available, benefitting a broad range of users, including the public and private sectors.
 
Osinbajo at the launch noted that sustainable energy access was crucial for the country’s development. He said: “Establishing clean, sustainable, and reliable energy access is intertwined with so many of Nigeria’s developmental goals. We have proven that transforming our energy system is a national priority through our Economic Sustainability Plan, and most recently, with our announcement at COP26 in Glasgow to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060.”

Speaking further on the importance of the initiative, Osinbajo said that the tool would be essential for the government to achieve its universal access and clean cooking targets. According to the Vice President, all arms of government will not only promote it but also use it broadly. He urged the international community to rally Nigeria’s transition efforts with more realistic climate finance support.

Enumerating the benefits of the initiative, experts said that the IEP for Nigeria stipulates that the least-cost plan for providing universal electrification through grid, mini-grid and solar home systems amount to USD 25.8 billion. And for Nigeria to achieve universal access by 2030, the tool estimates that 19.3 million additional connections will be required across the country. This is exclusive of the expected 11.3 million additional connections in places that already have access to electricity due to population growth.
 
According to research pulled from the IEP platform, a mini-grid represents the least-cost technology for the bulk of these connections (8.9 million connections), with grid (5.4 million) and solar home system (5.0 million) sharing a similar number of connections between them.

When productive use demand from agricultural activities is included in the analysis, such as maize and rice milling activities, this increases the number of mini-grid least cost communities by around 200,000, it stated. 

Although it is capital intensive as the total cost to deliver these connections is estimated to be $22.9b, of which $20b needs to be invested as up-front capital, given the main technologies being used (that is solar) do not consume any fuel and, therefore, have limited operating cost.

It is estimated that around 53 per cent of households in mini-grid settlements and 92 per cent of households in solar home system settlements will require public support to afford the total cost of ownership of the electrification solution.

Another aspect of energy sustainability being pursued by Nigeria with the tool is the potential for clean cooking solutions, which is 3.7 million for LPG, 3.5 million for e-cooking and 4.3 million for biogas.

The Nigeria IEP estimates that under a business-as-usual scenario, the country would have over 40 million households cooking with emissions-intensive and polluting cooking methods by 2030.

To address this, there is an overall opportunity to expand clean cooking solutions to 3.7 million households with LPG cooking solutions; 3.5 million households with e-cooking solutions; or 4.3 million households with biogas cooking solutions.

The overall cost of implementing these solutions would be $478 million for LPG, $83 million for e-cooking and $847 million for biogas. The cost of rolling out these technologies is split between stoves, accessories and the infrastructure required to deliver fuel or electricity.

On its impact based on the technology that has gone into the tool, it will be vital for the private sector, as it will help solution providers identify promising markets and provide useful market intelligence as they roll out electrification and clean cooking. Another high point of the tool is its ability to identify risks associated with technology choice and strategies to promote productive-use demand to unlock the economic viability of mini-grids.
 
Commenting on the determination of the current administration to transform the energy sector, Osinbajo said President Muhammadu Buhari is still committed to lifting 100 million people out of poverty and driving economic growth.

“The government is also keen on managing long-term job losses in the oil sector that will result from global de-carbonization, calling on the international community to support Nigeria’s energy access and energy transition efforts through much-needed climate finance commitments,” he noted.

 
According to Nigeria’s Vice President, the tool promotes a holistic approach to achieving SDG7 and energy development, while also supporting local manufacturing, expanding local solar technology value chains, and potentially creating 250,000 new jobs in Nigeria’s energy sector.

Also speaking at the event, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General, Amina J. Mohammed, commended the Federal Government for its bold vision in closing its energy access gaps and for its ambitious Energy Transition Plan that outlines a pathway to net-zero by 2060.
 
She said: “Without prioritising universal energy access, including clean cooking, we will not achieve our global net-zero targets. Energy is also critical to achieving multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including improved healthcare, better jobs and livelihoods, and greater gender equality.”

In her remarks, the CEO and Special Representative to the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), Damilola Ogunbiyi, said: “Nigeria is leading the charge with the ambitious commitment to achieve net-zero by 2060.

“I believe access to accurate and transparent data is critical to decision-making. I hope this demonstrates to other countries an invaluable tool for achieving their own energy access goals.”

She is already on a four-day trip in Nigeria for high-level meetings to harness the potential of the Nigeria IEP in the implementation of Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan.

 
On his part, President of The Rockefeller Foundation, Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, said as the world strives to turn the commitments from COP26 into action, the Foundation Is proud to partner with Nigeria and SEforALL to help communities connect and transit to quality renewable energy.
 
“The Nigeria Integrated Energy Planning Tool is transformative in its approach to integrated electrification. Not only will it advance our efforts to empower millions of people in Nigeria, but will also provide a model for clean electrification programmes, showing the world how to change energy for good,” said Shah.