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Exclusive interview with Mr. Chimaobi Daniel NNA, Research Officer 1, Energy Commission of Nigeria

Chimaobi Daniel NNA, Research Officer 1, National Centre for Energy Efficiency and Conservation, Energy Commission of Nigeria

Can we start with some background on the Energy Commission of Nigeria and its goals?
The ECN was established by Act No. 62 of 1979, as amended by Act No.32 of 1988 and Act No. 19 of 1989. It commenced operation in 1989 after the meeting of the Heads of ECOWAS in 1982 at Conakry, where a declaration was made that each member state should establish an Agency called Energy Commission charged with the responsibilities for coordinating and supervising all energy functions and activities within each member state.

Mandate: The Energy Commission of Nigeria is charged with the responsibility for the strategic planning and coordination of national policies in the field of energy in all its ramifications and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the Commission shall:

i.    Serve as a centre for gathering and dissemination of information relating to national policy in the field of energy;
ii.    Serve as a centre for solving any inter-related technical problems that may arise in the implementation of any policy relating to the field of energy;
iii.    Advise the government of the Federation or a State on questions relating to such aspect of Energy as the Government of the Federation or a State may from time to time refer to it;
iv.    Prepare after consultation with such agencies of government whose functions relate to the field of Energy development or supply as the Commission considered appropriate, periodic master plans for the balanced and coordinated development of energy in Nigeria and such plans include:  i.
Recommendations for the exploitation  of new  sources of energy as when considered necessary, and ii.Such other recommendations to the Government of the Federation relating to its functions under this Decree as the Commission may consider to be in the national interest;
v.    Lay down guidelines on the utilization of energy types for specific purposes;
vi.    Inquire into and advise the Government of the Federation or of the State on the adequate funding of the energy sector including research and development, production and distribution;
vii.    Collate, analyze and publish information relating to the field of energy;
viii.    Carry out such other activities as are conclusive to the discharge of its functions under this Decree;
ix.    Monitor the performance of the Energy sector in the execution of government policies on energy;
x.    Promoting training and manpower development in Energy sector;
xi.    Liaise with all international organizations in Energy matters.

According to your website the Energy Commission is “now aggressively pursuing national energy initiatives and actions through the development of appropriate measures to provide real answers to our energy and development challenges”. How is the Commission doing this?
•    Draft National Energy Masterplan (NEMP) 2014 Edition review
•    Draft National Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Policy (NREEEP) 2014 Edition review
•    The Nigeria Energy Calculator 2050 (NECAL2050)-Special Energy Analysis Tool

How important is renewable energy and clean initiatives in the Commission’s vision?

The Commission set up six research centres in each of the geopolitical zones to focus on different alternative energy sources and efficiency initiatives like – hydro, solar, biomass, energy efficiency and conservation.

In your view, what are the main challenges to the West African region’s energy future?
•    Cost reflective tariffs
•    Increase in renewable energy share in the energy mix
•    Losses in the transmission and distribution grid
•    Energy efficiency and conservation
•    Skilled manpower in the emerging technologies

You will address the upcoming African Utility Week on “Hybrid eco-friendly energy systems for small businesses and households in rural West Africa”.   What will be your message?
We can provide affordable, clean, off-grid electricity to rural communities by the use of decentralized hybrid renewable energy powered hub for small businesses where residents of the community can have energy access irrespective of their occupation and also to provide energy for basic household needs such as lighting and ventilation. This will help socioeconomic development, increase health care, help businesses and provide better lighting for households.

What are you most looking forward to at AUW?
Look forward to sharing the Nigerian experience on off-grid renewable energy systems and also to learn from other people’s experience, see great products and network.

There is always strong representation from Nigeria’s energy sector at AUW – how important is this event on the annual energy calendar?

It is very important because of the impact of WAPIC, the West African Power Industry Convention, in Lagos, which is also organised by the event organisers of African Utility week. The Advisory Board meetings prior to the event each year show the dedication and commitment of Nigerian energy experts and the Nigerian government to energy.

Anything you would like to add?

Recent review of the ISO 50007 draft standard, the new electricity tariffs in Nigeria and the commitment of the Distribution companies show the huge possibilities in this sector especially if and when the ISO 50007 standard is adopted.

In my opinion, the only way to get to the over 600 million Africans without electricity is to accelerate investment in the use of renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and biomass which are in abundance within the region.

Ashley Theron
Ashley Theron-Ord is based in Cape Town, South Africa at Clarion Events-Africa. She is the Senior Content Producer across media brands including ESI Africa, Smart Energy International, Power Engineering International and Mining Review Africa.