L-R; Mrs. Anita Nana Okuribido, Pradipta Mitra, Ade Yesufu and George Kai at the press conference of Future Energy Nigeria held in Lagos.

-Felix Douglas

Future Energy Nigeria is an event that focuses on all the value chain in power and it is strategically positioned to view critical issues in the sector and how to address key challenges that confront the country in terms of power.

The conference commences from 12th to 13th November, 2019 at Eko Hotel and Suite in Lagos.  Stakeholders in the power sector including the government will be at the event. Overview of the event with stakeholders will focus on capacity building and how to empower local participants in the power sector.

Discussion on how the young generation will be empowered including knowledge transfer especially on installation of solar in such that local engineers will be trained and their knowledge will not be exported out of the country.

At a press conference organized by Future Energy Nigeria, the Head of Sales: East & West Africa, Clarion Energy, Ade Yesufu, disclosed at the press briefing that keynote address will be given by Nigerian government and international delegation including the Senate. Welcome address will be delivered by the office of the Vice President.

There will be various sessions that focus on building Nigeria energy access gap, off grid project embarked on by Rural Electrification Agency (REA) from increasing access rates to positive impact on communities.

Opening of exhibition will be done by government delegation and networking among participants.

On issues bothering Nigeria’s power with various solutions proffered by stakeholders in the past even before privatization, the conference will see to practical solutions that can be put in place to resolve the lingering issues and improve the country’s power sector.

Yesufu added that strategy for Future Energy Nigeria is to ensure that there is a viable solution to the country’s power sector even after the event as stakeholder will drive this vision. The takeaways from the conference will be implemented partnering with the government.

He said there are investors that wish to invest in Nigeria but finding a local trusted partner is the major challenge.  The country is one of the biggest destinations and economy for Africa but challenged with a lot of factors.  The 3000 to 4000 Megawatts (MW) the country has is an issue including paltry amount of money generated by Distribution Companies (DisCos) from the consumers. The DisCos find it difficult to remit to Generation Companies (GenCos).

Therefore, government will revoke licences of the DisCos due to failure to remit fund to the GenCos and only two DisCos; Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) and Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) are able to meet up with the standard.

Yesufu noted that Nigeria is a sensitive market for power and the event is not a mere talk show. Its purpose is to proffer solutions.

He told journalists at the press briefing that South Africa has 50000 MW generation of electricity with 50 million population yet the country still yearns for more power generation.

Investors can only invest in Nigeria’s grid if electricity is paid by consumers. The problem with the country’s power is not from less privileged in the country but wealthy citizens who in most cases by-pass electricity without paying. Measures should be put in place to avoid energy theft so as to change the mindset of the people.

Yesufu revealed that there has been no platform where all stakeholders in the power value chain such as Ministry of Power, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), GenCos, DisCos, and international stakeholders converged to deliberate on issues bothering the country’s power sector. The power sector in Nigeria needs a global solution.

Nigerians pay a lot for electricity directly or indirectly with over 90 million generator users. The country has huge population of generator users and highest importer of it in the world. Yesufu said that money expended to fuel generators if put into consideration is much compared to having a stable grid where power used will be paid by end users.

According to him the power sector in Nigeria has enormous options for players if the sector can be put in proper perspective. It is the biggest economy in Africa without reliable power. He disclosed that due diligence was not made by DisCos and government before the power sector was either sold or bought during the privatization exercise. The challenges were not known by both parties.

Also, at the press conference George Kai from Jubaili Bros, noted that renewable energy is facing too many challenges, it has the issues of fund to contend. There is low penetration for renewable because people are skeptical about it. Renewable is more challenging and difficult to implement, return investment is high and fund is a major issue.

A major stakeholder in power value chain in Nigeria, Greenville LNG, through Pradipta Mitra, believed that the power sector in the country should be bankable which include new technologies, policies and players in the distribution and transmission of electricity. The transmission to generation and distribution must be competitive to have fully functional power sector for the next decades.

Speaking at the press conference on the aspect of renewable energy in Nigeria, a former president of the Council For Renewable Energy Nigeria (CREN), Anita Nana Okuribido was of the opinion that there are enormous investments in renewables untapped. It is also difficult to get a data to know the total investment of energy sector in Nigeria. CREN compiles data to emerge with right figures. She said the policy framework is not friendly for the players in the renewable sector. The roadmap policy on renewable energy was only reviewed by Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) from 2007 to 2012 since then it was not given attention and the space becomes an all comer’s affairs. It is difficult to get data for investment in renewable energy in Nigeria.

Okuribido observed that the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) and DisCos failed because heavy users of energy were not ready to pay for it. Maintenance culture should be imbibed for sustainability to attain energy sufficiency. This will also be addressed at the Future Energy Nigeria conference.

She suggested that electricity should be privately driven since the government has not been able to fix the sector. Stakeholders should proffer solutions to the problem.

Although some participants at the press conference believed that the government cannot be set aside on power issues because the failed privatization of electricity started from them. On the other hand, solar is expensive and beyond the reach of the common man and only government subsidy will make it affordable.

Responding, Okuribido opined that Kenya by February 2020 will be the first African country that will be 100% in renewable energy and the government is not involved. What the government does is to provide an enabling environment with policy framework while operators drive it.

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