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EU reiterates commitment to Nigeria’s clean energy vision

The European Union (EU) is committed to Nigeria actualising its clean energy and sustainable development vision under the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP), an official has said.

Inga Stefanowicz
Inga Stefanowicz, Head of Section, Economic Cooperation and Energy at the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS

Ms Inga Stefanowicz, the Head of Section, Economic Cooperation and Energy at the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said this on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, in Abuja.

She spoke at the launch of the Simplified Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Process for Solar Mini-Grid Project in Nigeria, which is under the Environmental and Social Management Plan (ESMP).

Stefanowicz said the bloc has always maintained that it would continue to strongly support and contribute towards Nigeria’s vision for a clean and sustainable environment.

“EU’s support to develop ESMP guidelines is aimed at encouraging higher investments into the solar mini-grid sector, which will ultimately increase access to clean and affordable electricity in rural and peri-urban communities across Nigeria.

“The achievement of the solar mini-grid has been possible through the Nigerian Government, Ministry of Environment, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammebarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and other collaborators.

“Also, this development will drive more investment in the sector,’’ she said.

Earlier, the Minister of Environment, Mrs Sharon Ikeazor, had said part of the ministry’s mandate was to encourage the use of clean sources of energy and ensure environmental protection in Nigeria.

Ikeazor, represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr Hassan Musa, said it was in the same vein that the ministry developed and approved an abridged ESMP guidelines for solar mini-grids.

“This will not only encourage more investments into the sector but ensure that our environment is protected in the process.

“Also, it will boost the sector by promoting investment and adopt international best practices,’’ she said.

Speaking also, Mr Abbas Suleiman, Director of the ministry’s Environment Assessment Department, elaborated on the key implications of the ESMP guidelines for the sector and the environment.

Suleiman said 21 guidelines have been provided for various sectors of the country’s economy.

“Given the exemption of solar power projects from requiring a full process and the peculiarity of solar mini-grid, it became imperative to develop a guideline that will regulate environmental issues pertaining to these projects and the health and social aspects as well.

“The guideline is an encompassing document that provides a simplified step-by-step guide for developers and regulators on the activities to be carried out towards the approval of an ESMP during the lifetime of a solar mini-grid and project decommissioning,’’ he said.

Similarly, the Head of Programme, NESP, Mr Duke Benjamin, expressed the organisation’s delight to have provided technical assistance to the ministry in developing the guidelines.

“We are glad to have supported the ministry not only in developing the ESMP guidelines, but facilitating several stakeholders’ workshops and public hearing, to collate feed backs and contributions from key stakeholders and experts in the sector,’’ he said.

The NESP is a technical assistance programme co-funded by the EU and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

It is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammebarbeit GmbH in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Power.

It aims to foster investments for renewable energy and efficiency and to improve access to electricity for disadvantaged rural communities.

The highlight of the event was the launch of the 2022 ESMP Guidelines for solar mini-grid in Nigeria.

By Maureen Okon

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