The United States Agency for International Development USAID, FHi360 and Power For All in collaboration with stakeholders in the Nigerian Renewable Energy sector have set-up a task force to upscale decentralized renewable energy in the country.
The role of the taskforce, the CEO Power For All, Kristina Skierka says is to focus on the specifics, via converging around shared goals determined by the renewable energy ecosystem in the country as priority areas.
Skierka says the hope is that the taskforce will ensure greater connectivity, engagement and upscaling of the sector such that it can effectively advocate for itself.
Speaking to LEADERSHIP Newspaper at the event, USAID Director for Economic Growth in Nigeria and the lead of Power for All, Nigeria, Roseann Casey, emphasized that while there is always progress to be made on regulations, the taskforce will work with opportunities identified within the existing off-grid and mini-grid regulation even as the stakeholders continue on with their independent projects, and strive for a perfect regulation. “The taskforce is helping to define, when there is necessary progress in status, what are the really critical things that have to change and what needs to change sequentially to create more opportunity for progress in decentralized renewable energy access,” outlines Casey.
However, she notes that the sector must be treated as a business model to ensure effectiveness, efficiency and sustained development of the sector. “There has to be a commercially viable aspect to off-grid energy. We are saying it is a business, not government providing power as an obligation, rather there are many solutions available. We are saying it is a service provision that people should pay a reasonable cost for, and if they do so, distributors will provide consistent and reliable service.”
But Casey says the determinant factor necessary for the scaling of off-grid energy in Africa largely falls on political will, awareness and access to financing. She prioritized the importance of political will, and awareness creation, when she stated clearly that, “you can invest all the money in the world on a project and it will still fail without awareness creation and the political will to do it. A political will of the communities to understand the full story is necessary. One of the biggest problem is that there is so much misinformation on Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE),” concludes Casey.
FHi360’s descriptive research on social network analysis of the renewable energy ecosystem in the country will be used in the provision of information for donor communities to gain a good picture of organizations working in the sector and how they are connected, FHi360’s Project Manager, Christina Blumel reveals.
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