By Joseph BAMIDELE
ABUJA – Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has said that the country is on the path of achieving sustainable power for all citizens by the year 2020. Jonathan, who made the remark earlier today at the launch of the Sustainable Energy for All, SE4All, an initiative of the United Nations Development Organisation (UNIDO), in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital noted that the programme “aims at assisting Nigeria to refine its energy plans and programmes to provide access to affordable, clean and reliable modern energy services to all citizens.”
Whilst applauding the UN initiative, President Jonathan, who was represented by Vice President Namadi Sambo, said Nigeria is “fully committed to achieving our set targets in less than a decade. All tiers of government are being mobilized to play their roles in ensuring that Nigeria achieves its targets.”
He noted that the programme is a pledge that the administration has made, adding that only the other day, the HMO signed a Performance Agreement with the Nigerian government in keeping promises to project implementation and delivery, mindful that it will safeguard the prosperity of the people.
The United Nations had in September 2011 launched the sustainable energy for all initiative to accelerate the attainment of the overall objectives of the declaration of 2012 as International Year for Suatainable Energy for All.
“This determined response to the challenges of energy poverty in the world requires all stakeholders to take concrete measures towards achieving universal access to modern energy services. It also requires he doubling of both the share of renewable energy in the global mix, and the global rate of energy efficiency. These three critical interlinked objectives are all to be achieved by 2030,” the President observed.
According to Jonathan, “Limitless opportunities abound in renewable energy. Bearing this in mind, we have set national goals and developed a Power Sector Roadmap that will fast-track our realization of the UN targets. At our current rate of power development, through the full implementation of the roadmap, we plan to meet these targets by the year 2020.”
He added that, “Our administration is highly committed to strengthening the power sector so that it can efficiently deliver adequate, qualitative, reliable and affordable power in a deregulated market. The roadmap for the Reform of the Power Sector, launched two years ago, brings into practical effect the 2005 Electric Power Sector Reform Act.”
Jonathan further noted the fact that hydro power generation sources are being exploited. “Only yesterday we had our initial meeting with the consultants and contractors for the construction of the large Mambila Hydro-power plant that will produce 3050mw.
“The processes for the construction of Zungeru 700mw hydropower plant have reached an advanced stage. Several small and medium hydropower projects are also in progress; as well as solar power projects an MOU has already been signed with SEIMENS of Germany for the production of 450mw (with 7 states as 1st phase).
“Bauchi state is already off-taking. 30mw coal to power is being pursued under PPP arrangement as well as a pilot wind power scheme in Katsina with 10mw. Waste-to-power schemes are also being implemented in various states. To support the expected developments in addressing power, we are also addressing other areas that are militating against our growth. Education/ Transport; railway-waterways seaports, airports/ Agriculture, etc.,” he added.
This point was emphasized by the Director-General of UNIDO, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella, who stressed that Nigeria was on a path to achieving the goal of sustainable energy a whole decade ahead of the target.
He noted that, “As a country with vast oil and gas reserves, abundant sunlight and significant hydropower potential, Nigeria should not be suffering energy crisis. Over the years, the challenge has been in formulating a consistent energy policy.
“However, going by the discussions we have had with officials of the Nigerian government, and the vision we see that the administration has already put in place, we are confident that the country is on a viable road to meeting the targets as set by the United Nations towards sustainable energy for all.”
Yumkella further noted that the scale of policy challenges in energy infrastructure render the current efforts insufficient in scale and scope. “What is now required is a sustained political focus. Energy access must move up the political and development agendas to become a central priority,” he added.
The UNIDO boss stressed that the Sustainable Energy for All initiative has created a momentum for a specific path to be pursued to concrete action to address energy poverty. “The obstacles to energy access are well known. These barriers, while complex, can be overcome and international cooperation can help this process.”