The European Union (EU) says it has committed over 700 million euros for the development of sustainable energy in Nigeria and other ECOWAS countries within a six-year period beginning 2014 to 2020.
Kurt Cornelis, head of cooperation, EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said this in Abuja on Monday at a workshop on policy and regulation for clean energy mini-grids and renewable energy in the West African sub-region.
Cornelis said access to electricity and promoting sustainable energy solutions were at the core of EU’s cooperation with the region, hence the provision of grants to ECOWAS countries.
He noted the challenge in electricity production and generation. He therefore urged the need to address the energy deficit by using the various energy mix in the region.
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“We all know that the challenges are considerable. We also know that on-grid solutions alone cannot solve the problems and that the right mix of on grid and off-grid interventions has to be found,” he said, adding the need to ensure a strong political will through the formulation and implementation of a solid regulatory and policy framework for the sector.
He said that a stable environment for trade and investment, improved capacities and necessary funding were required for the development of the sector.
“The EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility is a good example of a multi-donor initiative established with the aim to promote coherent, effective and efficient European energy development cooperation.“
According to him, another 360 million euros is on the verge of being disbursed through a financial instrument called Africa Investment Facility (AFIF) to further improve energy and transportation in the ECOWAS region.
He said there was the need for new partnerships to mobilise private resources and apply innovative financing models, noting that EU was also proposing an ambitions external investment plan.This, he said, would require the full participation and partnership of the private sector.
“The EU is planning to mobilise considerable funding to support this trend and allow the private sector to invest in the area of renewable energies,“ he said.
Babatunde Fashola, minister of power, works and housing, said that Nigerian government was focused on improving power supply in the country.
Represented by Louis Edozie, permanent secretary in the ministry, Fashola said the two subjects of renewable energy and mini grids were very important to the Nigerian government.
He said the development of renewable energy and mini grids were important elements in improving electricity in Nigeria, adding that the legal frame work for the takeoff of renewable energy and mini grid has been established in the country.
He said that the framework was designed to bring together, government, private developers and financiers to improve power supply in the country.
“We have a regulator in place and we have at least three important policies that are quite relevant,” he noted.
According to him, what was required was the practical transactions on the already established polices by stakeholders.
The minister advised participants to focus on measures to ensure the implementation of the contractual framework to unleash the creative energies in the renewable energies and mini grids.
He expressed hope that the workshop would evolve workable mechanisms to meet the contractual framework designed to develop renewable energy and mini grids in the ECOWAS region