Renewable energy receives $1 billion funding in 2017

PHOTO: Aera Group

The Nigerian renewable energy sector has received over $1 billion of international funding to build capacity in the industry.Speaking at the event to mark the closing of the USAID Power Africa Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Project (REEEP) in Lagos, the Chief of Party, REEEP, Javier Batencourt noted that despite the funding challenges faced by the project in 2015 when Nigeria experienced the foreign exchange crises, the sector has received funding from various international quarters in 2017.
According to him, the World Bank is bringing in S450 million, the French Development Agency is bringing in a Euro100 million, while USAIDS  and others are bringing in considerable amount in to the capacity building of the sector through major companies. 
“In the last year, at least I can tell you that I have seen at least a billion dollars worth of funding promises coming into the Nigeria renewable energy sector and that is a lot,” he added.
Batencourt went further to reveal that apart from these international funding, they are also working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make available funding in local currency.
Though a four years pilot project, the REEEP that aimed to increase the available megawatt (mw) in the country as well as reduce carbon emission has enabled over 16,600 connections too the 2.5 mw generated either through off or on grid sources.
This he advanced has translated to over 261,938 Nigerians connected to clean and reliable energy as compared to the diesel or petrol generators.Citing major challenges encountered by the tenure of the project was the Consulate General of the United States Of America John Bray who Most commercial banks don’t want to lend to renewable energy development, and when they do too they charge high interest rates and that is why we need to find new financing solutions for the sector to grow.
Bray maintained that Nigeria has all it take for renewable energy and energy efficiency technology to succeed, with the country’s high quality product developers, good population and season financial institution.This is he said is evidence in the REEP project and that by pulling together all these technologies, they can succeed. “It is a roadmap to sustainability,” he remarked.
Batencourt, noted that despite funding challenges, few banks like Union bank , Ecobank Access bank FCMB and some others are committed to the sector. “Other banks are not active because the sector have not been that big , so the incentives for banks to participate, though most are still using their old business model, thus looking after their traditional clients in the oil and gas sector , which are very profitable for them,” he added.He appealed to the government to create incentives for people to use renewable energy and energy efficiency products. As well as policy on import and clearance of products coming in for the sector.

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