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Lack of Awareness, Data on Underserved Areas Barriers To Expansion of Decentralized Renewable Energy

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Stakeholders have identified lack of awareness creation, and the unavailability of data on underserved communities as barriers to the expansion of decentralized renewable and off-grid energy in Nigeria.

They made this known at the recent meeting of development partners and renewable sector stakeholders which established a taskforce to Scaling Off Grid Energy (SOGE).

CEO of Protergia, a renewable energy organization, Ayodeji Deji, at the meeting of the taskforce said poor knowledge penetration at underserved areas and insufficient data on underserved communities hinder increment of decentralized energy in Nigeria.

Although government and German corporation, GIZ did some work in the mapping out data of underserved areas much needs to be done in this aspect to lift the foundational stage of the energy process which private sector lacks the capital to tackle.
Deji admits carrying out the groundwork of researching and mapping out data for prospective communities not only ‘increases the still relatively high renewable energy services but will lead to stakeholders eventual outpricing itself off the market. “There is need to educate, communicate and work with affected communities to get them onboard.

Approaching the challenge of non-awareness from the perspective of advocacy, CEO of A STEVEN a renewable energy systems company, Dr. Sunny Akpoyibo insufficient advocacy on the benefits of DREs to stakeholders and the public by the government.
According to Akpoyibo, stakeholders are yet to benefit from government’s existing incentives for private sectors in the renewable energy sector due to lack of awareness of its existence.

But responding to Akpoyibo’s claim, Ministry of Power representative, Temitope Dina observed that stakeholders’ inability to start early and pursue incentives such as alongside tax holidays, zero duties on Polyvinyl Chloride (PVCs), duty waivers among others, affect their accessibility of the incentives. “At the point of filling forms and talking to manufacturers, this is the point stakeholders should begin to apply for duty waivers.” He says despite bureaucratic challenges; an early start is important to getting all necessary approvals and waivers in time before stakeholders’ shipment arrives at the port.
He also urged DREs investors to take full advantage of the National Investment Promotion Council NIPC’s which he describes as a one-stop shop desk for information on all necessary requirement to operate a business in Nigeria.

Akpoyibo who attributed stakeholders late approach to lack of awareness on existing incentives and their distrust and experience of disinterest from the ministry urged government to create awareness on the incentives and encourage private sector via such means.

The CEO whose organization has trained over 200 individuals in renewable energy system design, coupling and installation urged government to develop advocacy that ensures only certified renewable energy installers and professionals trade in DRE sector.

He says without the private sector government’s vision to achieve 30, 000 mw of energy, of which 30 per cent must be renewably sourced, based on its NDC, cannot be achieved. Akpoyibo said the energy poverty in the country should be seen as an opportunity of creating employment for the increasing number of engineering graduates in the country.
With proper training, and little support from government through advocacy and funding, he stated, they will expand their decentralized energy businesses.

The Taskforce to scaling off-grid energy, Akpoyibo enthused will “file in one letter to the direct channels to tell government why it needs to open up these incentives. To meet up with the 2030 agenda, the players needs to be encouraged. Renewable energy should be one of government’s focal point of advocacy,” concludes Akpoyibo.

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