Mrs. Lande Abudu, is the executive secretary of the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN). At the just concluded Future Energy Nigeria held in Lagos, REAN played a supporting role as one of the associations that put together the conference.
It is currently partnering with Nextier to promote renewable energy integration through the facilitation of private sector investments.
Daily Sun spoke to Mrs. Abudu at the event:
Let’s start with some background on REAN, your members and your goals. What exactly are you doing?
Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria is an association of renewable energy professionals, individuals or organisations that are involved in promoting clean energy for sustainable living. Our association houses the major players in the Nigerian RE market and they are making massive impact in electrifying Nigeria. Recently, our member (Nayo Technology) was the project developer for the Rural Electrification Agency’s 90kW solar hybrid mini grid project in Kebbi State.
Auxano Solar, a member who runs the first solar assembly plant in West Africa, recently launched a 240kW solar hybrid system in Abuja.
The largest solar street lighting project was completed by Blue Camel energy. This project, worth $9 million, has made the city of Jos the best-lit city in Nigeria. REAN members have commissioned over 30 projects in all geopolitical zones in the country, providing electricity to unserved and underserved communities.
All these achievements are in line with our vision, which is to promote strategies that will improve the contribution of renewable energy up to 40 per cent of the national energy mix by 2030.
Any specific projects that REAN is involved in currently that you are particularly excited about?
Apart from numerous projects within our membership, on the advocacy level, we are very much involved in the process of harmonising the Renewable Energy Bill, where we seek to plug those gaps that hamper the RE space from being more effective. There is a need to ensure that policies are properly implemented, and that the regulatory environment is strong. DE risking the RE sector is key to unlocking its huge potential and attracting investment into it that will allow for successful scale-up
What, in your view, are the main challenges right now for Nigeria’s energy sector?
The persistent overreliance on fossil fuels, an overburdened national grid, slower than needed scale-up of renewable energy solutions and, sometimes, haphazard policy guidelines. Challenges also bring many opportunities. Opportunities for policymakers to entrench an enabling environment, which will attract investment, thereby boosting the economy, is important in creating employment for the products and services that will be needed across the entire value chain.
As a matter of fact, the challenges are enormous because renewable energy is a technology that Nigerians cannot do without, if they must be at per with other countries of the world. They have no option but to key into it. If we can manufacture some devices in the name of renewable energy, it would go a long way. And the foreign exchange is a no-go area. A dollar is a dollar; a dollar would do what a dollar would do; now we are changing N360 to one dollar, N360 can buy a meal for a Nigerian, or even two. One dollar cannot buy a meal. Now, I have to spend so much money to buy solar devices, renewable energy devices. The initial cost of deploying a renewable energy system is very high. It is enormous. It is out of place.
Could you give us an insight on the session that REAN was involved in at the conference?
REAN and Nextier Power are partnering on Match-Making Business Sessions to promote renewable energy integration through the facilitation of private sector investments. As mentioned earlier, improved access to finance will drive a successful scale up of renewable energy projects. It really is about the future and laying the foundation for a successful and vibrant sector.
The three-pronged approach will identify and incubate commercially viable renewable energy projects in Nigeria, Support and incubate such projects with emphasis on the key maker model with anchor commercial customers,
Support and incubate such projects with the development of deal sheet and financial projections.
Renewable energy is the future, not only to achieve Vision 30:3030 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also for its potential to transform lives across Nigeria. Renewable energy can be a driver for huge socio-economic change.
How do you get a rural community to adopt renewable energy?
When you first get into a community, they are scared of you. So, you have to gain their confidence. We go to them with all our gadgets, all our devices in renewable energy, the clean cookstoves, the illumination, solar fan, solar fridge and so on. We are changing the narratives of the lives of these women and they see it themselves.
What is your message at Future Energy Nigeria?
Renewable Energy is the future, not only to achieve Vision 30:3030 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions but also for its potential to transform lives across Nigeria. Renewable energy can be a driver for huge socio-economic change.
What are you looking forward to as regards renewable energy in Nigeria?
I am mostly looking at the meeting of minds of industry stakeholders. Passion for the sector all under one roof is an excellent networking opportunity and one to share knowledge and ideas on how best to continue to move the sector forward. We all can benefit if we all come together and push this sector for it to thrive
Is there anything you would like to add?
Despite the challenges, REAN members are contributing greatly to reducing Nigeria’s energy access gap. They are passionate about making a difference and strongly believe that access to electricity should be a right and not a privilege.
Their efforts contribute to boosting financial and gender inclusion, entrepreneurship and overall lifestyle improvements. As an association with sustainability at it its core, our activities continue to be geared toward promoting strategies that will improve the contribution of renewable energy up to 40% of the National Energy Mix by 2030.