A TWO day national energy efficiency summit which ended in Abuja recently has called on the Federal government to create an enabling environment and adequate awareness on the importance and gains of energy efficiency in meeting national development.
The summit also harped on the need for government to step up actions to ensure environmental sustainability and to integrate energy efficiency into national policy, strategies and programmes towards achieving its goals of vision 20-20-20.
The two-day summit organized by the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP and Global Energy Facility, GEF is part of activities geared towards the successful implementation of the UNDP-GEF Energy Efficiency Programme with the theme "Promoting Energy Efficiency for National Development and Environmental Sustainability".
Speakers at the summit were of the opinion that the government must make policies and legislation that would promote energy efficiency, especially in the area of setting minimum energy efficiency standards, label and develop frameworks for enforcement, if Nigeria is ready to realise its Vision 20 2020 goals.
Major highlights at the summit includes the presentation of the preliminary report of the end-use monitoring study; draft revised energy efficiency training manual; draft national energy efficiency policy and the draft report of the Nigerian appliance inventory study as well as technical papers presented by various speakers from within and outside Nigeria.
Declaring the summit open, the Minister of Environment Mrs. Hadiza Mailafiya, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Taye Haruna, said the summit was aimed at complementing the Vision 20 2020 goals of Nigeria by improving the use of end use equipment used in residential and public buildings in the country.
She traced the cause of climate change to emissions of green house gases and other human activities, which she said had posed a great threat to the whole world and called for change of human behaviour towards the environment and energy utilization.
"Nigeria is greatly challenged in energy supply of 50 Mega Watts with the current generation capacity below expectation due to increase in human and industrial population. We need the support of UNDP to create awareness and every stakeholder has a role to play in this junction. For us in the ministry, we are adopting the use of clean stove across the country to achieve sustainable energy efficiency," she added.
While emphasising the need for Nigerians to change their life styles, cost of living, the minister implored all the partners to help in reducing energy usage in the country.
In his Keynote address on behalf of the UNDP Climate Change Technical Advisor, Mr. Benoit Lebot, Dr. Jason Yapp said "Nigerians rely on generators for energy supply because of shortage of power supply to demand," saying that generators are not only pollutants but are noisy and expensive, hence the need for sustainable energy efficiency in Nigeria.
He therefore charged Nigeria to put up standards and rules to stop importers from dumping used and substandard home appliances in the country, which contribute in impeding Nigeria's efforts towards attainment of best practices in energy efficiency. He highlighted some of the benefits of energy efficiency as: reducing energy consumption; saving money to build more power stations; making industries more competitive and making the environment less harmful.
Also speaking, the Abia State commissioner for science and technology, Barr. Charles Nwator, said that the event could not have come at a better time, considering the calamity Nigeria is currently facing from climate change and flooding, describing it as a precarious situation.
"There is no gain saying the fact that energy is a matter of life and optimal management that is why every hand must be on deck to reverse our old way of utilising energy. For me, energy is not for the elite class because they can manage but for the common man in the street", Nwator noted.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director General of Energy Commission of Nigeria, Prof. Abubakar Sambo said that though, the partnership had recorded consistent strides in capacity building and major studies, there was need for stakeholders to do more in sensitising Nigerians and integrating the draft policy into government policy plans for adequate implementation. He tasked Nigerians to embrace the message of improving energy conservation for national development.