UNGA: Buhari commits to renewable energy transition which could create 340,000 jobs by 2030

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Following Nigeria’s energy transition plan launched in August 2022, President Mohammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, told attendees of a climate change session at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), that Nigeria is committed to a rapid transition to renewable energy.   

He said the data-backed energy transition plan highlights the use of renewable energy technologies to transform Nigeria into a clean energy-led economy. Nigeria’s energy transition plan is projected to create 340,000 jobs by 2030 and up to 840,000 jobs by 2060, driven by the transportation, clean cooking and power sectors. According to him, emerging technologies like hydrogen and bioenergy would create pathways for low-carbon development in the country.  

In his statement, Buhari shared a few details from the plan and shared his confidence in Nigeria’s energy transition plan, which he said would put Nigeria on a path to prosperity.   

 “The clean energy goals of the plan include modernizing the power sector with large-scale integration of renewable energy, enhancing energy efficiency and conservation; and is expected to generate 250 gigawatts of installed energy capacity with over 90% made up of renewables,” he said.

Buhari, whose administrative tenure comes to an end by May 2023, said the implementation of the energy transition plan will provide investment opportunities for Nigeria, especially in the area of natural gas for industrialization and power supply. In his speech, he made reference to the possibilities that solar energy, e-mobility, and hydrogen production could give Nigeria, going forward.  

Current realities 

Going by what Buhari said at the UNGA, Nigeria is ready to switch to natural gas and other forms of renewable energy. However, Nigeria currently struggles with a number of issues that could pose challenges to the implementation of the energy transition plan; 

Policy implementation – The Buhari administration, has, in the recent past, brought some energy policies to public knowledge. However, the implementation of these policies is not seen or felt by the general public. Case in point, the Nigeria gas flare commercialization programme (NGFCP) that was passed in 2016. Nigeria is still flaring gas as of 2022. The National gas expansion programme (NGEP), that was supposed to enable Nigerians switch their internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. As of 2022, the policy is yet to be implemented.  

Change in government – The Buhari administration ends in 2023, what happens to the energy transition plan? The government is supposed to be a continuum but the opposite obtains in Nigeria as we have seen in the past. A new administration comes into power, and will most likely pursue their own projects and interests. Will the energy transition plan be of any interest to the new administration? Will Nigerians put pressure on the new administration to pursue the plan implementation, when most of them hardly know anything about the plan? 

A lack of energy transition knowledge – A source at the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), told Nairametrics that the general public must be made aware of the global energy transition. This is because people drive the transition through their energy consumption habits and behaviours.  

“500 people in an air-conditioned hall attending an energy transition conference do not make up the general population, most of whom are still cooking with firewood and running diesel generators, without even knowing what a carbon footprint is,” the source says. 

If Nigeria does not start to make efforts toward educating the general public on the energy transition, can a path be set for future implementation of the energy transition plan?  

What you should know 

  • Nigeria’s Energy Transition plan requires spending $1.9 trillion, up to 2060, including $410 billion above Business as usual. 
  • Nigeria’s finance minister, Zainab Ahmed, previously broke down the financial requirements of the energy transition plan. 
  • $150 billion net expense on improving generation capacity, $135 billion on building transmission, distribution, and infrastructure. $79 billion for developing clean cooking solutions, $21 billion for decarbonizing industries and $12 billion on transport, and another $12 billion for oil and gas decarbonization 

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