Worried over the neglect of renewable energy, stakeholders in the power sector have called on economic managers to prioritise investment into the nation's renewable energy space.
They stated that despite economic benefits of renewable energy on the economy and environment, the sector is yet to receive the financial support it deserves.
These were submissions made by power stakeholders on the sidelines of the second edition of Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Energy Finance (SUNREF) Nigeria Programme investor conference in Lagos recently.
The Team Lead, SUNREF Nigeria, Mr. Javier Betancourt, explained that the renewable sector has so far remained forgotten by financiers but becoming a more important subject matter, saying that this is why banks are becoming more involved in the sector.
"The $70 million fund made available by Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) is largely not enough but a good start. What Nigeria needs is in the billions because over 80 million people in Nigeria are completely unelectrified while the remaining 100 million are somewhat electrified. The investment needed is enormous. $70 million does not even begin to cover it, but it does help start things," he said.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, stated that the federal government is planning to increase the current capacity of 5GW to 30GW in the next nine years with 30 per cent of the increase coming from renewables
The Minister who was represented by the Deputy Director, Industrial Development, John Opaluwa, assured that the ministry is consistently making efforts to attract investors into the country in order to boost industrial activities and achieve economic growth.
"We will bring renewable energy efficiency innovators face to face to would be investors and financiers into the sector. We are encouraging organisations and companies to adopt and invest in technological innovations in order to meet global best practices," he said
Betancourt added that access to finance to fund renewable energy projects require long term financing that is not readily available in the country.
"This fund we are bringing in will be longer terms with minimum of 5 years and these are concessional lending rates which would help to.finance these projects. It is difficult to give an exact approximation on the amount needed by the renewable sector to bridge the nation's energy needs, but just because Nigeria needs another 14GW of energy, the investment required would be about $10 billion in total. It is a drop in the ocean, but it is an important drop because it will help move this sector to get the appropriate finance," he added.
He noted that the event was to bring some investors, manufacturers and captains of industry to have a conversation to address issues in the renewable energy sector as regards to financing and policies.
Also speaking, the Team Member, Project and Structured Finance, Sub Sahara Africa, Access Bank, Chukwudumije Igwe, said the SUNREF would sponsor projects that are innovative, meets technical eligibility, energy efficient and renewable.