Abuja — The Hon. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has reiterated the federal government's commitment to pursuing renewable and low carbon energy at low cost to a logical conclusion in the near future.
Fashola reaffirmed this yesterday in his keynote address presented at the energy focused "Africa Today Summit" held in Abuja with the topic: "The Outlook for Nigeria - Energy options in a Low-cost and Low Carbon World: Which Way Nigeria and Africa."
According to the Minister, the commitment stands firm on the tripod of necessity, contract, and policy.
"Let me be clear and unequivocal by saying upfront that our commitment as a Nation and Government to pursue renewable and low carbon energy at low cost is clear, firm and unshaking. But this is not all. It is a commitment driven by necessity, contract and policy," the Minister said.
Explaining the concept of necessity, Fashola said as a nation whose energy source has been 85% gas fired and 15% hydro, Nigeria has always experienced shortage when there is any issue upstream of the oil and gas industry, thus necessitating the need to diversify the energy source as evident in the energy mix programme of the federal government.
"This made us very vulnerable as a nation whenever there was a gas shortage or failure for any reason including wilful damage to Gas pipelines and assets.
"This much was evident in 2016 when we had no less than 20 attacks on our Gas pipelines.
"Our response of course has been to diversify our energy sources and optimize other assets for power production by producing an Energy Mix that targets a 30% component of renewable energy out of the Gross energy we produce by 2030.
"We have also matched our intent with actions such as signing 14 solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPAs) with 14 Developers with the potential to deliver over 1,000 MW of solar power, the Minister said.
On the contract, Fashola noted that Nigeria is one of the early signatories to the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which signatories were committed to low carbon energy sources as a contribution to helping the global community protect our climate.
He equally noted that the commitment is driven by policy embedded in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), where one of the 5 pillars is Energy sufficiency in power and petroleum products.
The Minister said that even as attention is on growing the grid, off-grid power is also being encouraged.
"While we have expanded the National Grid capacity for on- grid power from 5,000 MW in 2015 to 6,900 MW in September 2017, we are mindful that quick access to power will be easier to achieve by off-grid connections.
"Therefore, through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) we have issued mini grid Regulations to guide registration and licencing for small consumers and off-grid developers seeking to produce up to 100 kilowatts and over 100 kilowatts and up to 1 megawatts respectively," he said.
According to him, the national policy for pioneer status has been revised by the Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment and approved by the Federal Executive Council to include solar panels, solar Home Systems, light emitting diodes, batteries other components that support solar systems which can be manufactured in Nigeria.