Last week nearly 70 participants from 25 government ministries, department and agencies (MDAs)—including the Federal Ministries of Power, Works and Housing, Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Ministry of Environment, The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and The Energy Commission of Nigeria—joined a workshop hosted by Power for All and its partners to share knowledge on policies, programs, opportunities and challenges in the decentralized renewable energy (DRE) sector.
The workshop focused on how stakeholders in the sector can collaborate with the government to achieve energy access and renewables targets. DRE practitioners recognised that they had a clear role to play supporting MDAs by providing research, data and feedback, while MDAs recognised the challenges faced by private enterprises and civil society organisations working to increase access to decentralized technologies. Topics discussed included:
- Review of overlapping regulations and policies to streamline planning,
- clear policy frameworks,
- high import duties on renewable energy equipment and products,
- quality standardization,
- sector financing and funding, and
- improving the enabling environment.
Eight presentations were made by industry stakeholders which profiled different DRE technologies, and their varied deployment across uses and sectors. Each presentation universally noted the importance of raising awareness around the benefits and affordability of clean energy solutions. Representatives of MDAs spoke about the ways their policies and activities were supporting the DRE sector, but recognised the challenges faced by DRE enterprises, and that more needed to be done to harness the potential of the technology.
There was shared agreement by all participants on several topics, including the need for:
- A clear government vision around DRE and energy access to attract investment into the sector
- A Policy and Institutional Mapping study of all Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency policies and enabling laws and legislations (including those in draft form) to build a comprehensive understanding of the current policy framework
- Better internal coordination of MDAs, either under Inter-ministerial committee on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency or under the Presidential roundtable on Renewable Energy currently championed by the office of the Vice President in conjunction with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group
- A clearer understanding of where energy access and rural electrification fit with the broader government strategy for Nigeria, and the future roles of different MDAs
- Capacity building to aid the process of internal policy and regulatory coordination
Greater Sector Support
- Processes for the implementation of supportive policy and regulation by MDAs to be drawn up and brought into force to rapidly accelerate energy access via DRE
- Additional policies to catalyze the DRE sector to be incorporated into implementation plans. For example, policies on taxes, tariffs, products and services standardization, and actions that would enable more financial services support and funding
- Sound financial services and second and third channels of funding for the DRE sector, with equitable access to financing, funding and concessions for all stakeholders
- A ‘one stop shop’ for the DRE sector housed in one agency where all paperwork for DRE related businesses can be filed and obtained, reducing the red-tape that currently limits activity
An ambition to build a structured approach to future workshops to make progress on key topics was also noted. As was the need to ensure the future participation of officials from the Ministry of Finance, The Nigerian Customs and the Standard Organization of Nigeria.
Leaving the event, participants were fired up by a call to action to promote DRE throughout their various MDAs, and to consider immediate steps that would accelerate clean energy access.
Ify Malo, Power for All Campaign Director, said: ”It was fantastic to see such great engagement and support from across Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies for the decentralized renewable energy sector’s efforts to accelerate access to clean power in Nigeria. Thank you to all who attended the workshop for the clear and open discussion of actions that will rapidly boost the impact of decentralized technologies—streamlining policies, eliminating VAT and import duties, enforcing quality, improving importation and driving equitable finance to name just a few. We look forward to working together to drive Power for All.”