EU-backed aid to boost Nigeria’s renewable energy infrastructure

Out-Law News | 30 Jul 2014 | 3:22 pm | 1 min. read

A multi-million euro package of financial aid to help develop Nigeria’s renewable energy infrastructure has been announced by the European Commission, in partnership with the World Bank and the German agency for international cooperation (GIZ).

The Commission said the €27m in aid formed part of a newly-launched programme, ‘Energising Access to Sustainable Energy (EASE)’. The World Bank is contributing more than €4,6m to the total and GIZ is contributing €9m.

As part of the programme, the Commission said it will help Nigeria develop business plans to “demonstrate the commercial viability of small-scale gas resources”.

The Commission also wants to cut carbon dioxide emissions by promoting reduced gas flaring in Nigeria, which the Commission said is the second largest gas flaring nation in the world.

The EASE programme recognised the “fundamental link between energy and development” in focusing aid on “the most strategic and growth-oriented sectors, including energy”, the Commission said.

According to the Commission, the European Union is the biggest donor to energy-related projects worldwide and has invested more than €2 billion over the last five years on energy schemes in developing countries and more than €1bn on improving the state of the energy sector in Africa.

Nigerian minister of power Chinedu Nebo said the new aid would help the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria address “training gaps” for engineers from traditional power sectors and given them the skills needed to work on renewable energy projects including wind, solar and biomass.

Nebo said the government was committed to supporting economic growth by improving the reliability and efficiency of electricity supplies to the country’s growing commercial services sector as well as improving the day-to-day lives of citizens.

GIZ programme director Daniel Werner said his agency’s technical cooperation was in line with the Nigerian government’s ‘Transformation Agenda’, which is a national blueprint for priority infrastructure programmes up to 2015 (27-page / 5.06 MB PDF).

Under the blueprint, the total proposed investment envisaged in the power sector is nearly 2,000 trillion Nigerian naira (NGN) ($12bn), including power generation, transmission, distribution and “alternative energy”. The strategy also calls for the establishment of “a deregulated and competitive electric power sector to attract foreign and local investments”.

Werner said GIZ had already identified 10 pilot programmes to boost the use of solar power projects in regions across Nigeria and in the north in particular.

In April 2014, the World Bank approved a Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Nigeria over the next three years to increase its development assistance to the country to about $2bn per year through the International Development Association and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) financing.

The bank said the new CPS introduced a change in the country’s borrowing status after Nigeria was declared creditworthy for IBRD financing in 2013.

World Bank task team leader for the CPS Indira Konjhodzic said: “The bulk of the financing programme will focus on increasing installed power generation and transmission capacity and improving the efficiency and governance of electricity delivery.”