rural electrification projects

Former United Nations Under-Secretary-General and currently the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Sustainable Energy for All, Dr Kandeh Yumkella has applauded the growth of alternative energy in recent years.

Dr Yumkella was speaking in Lagos, Nigeria at the launch of N1billion ($3 million) Solar Energy Fund for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) by the Bank of Industry (BoI), The Nation reported.

According to local media, he stated that investments in green energy have grown six times to over $338 billion, noting that the tremendous increase in investment was due to the collapse in the oil price.

“In 2015, we suddenly saw the crash in oil price from over $100 per barrel to $40-45 per barrel. People thought that renewable energy will crash but that didn’t happen because in many countries, we were able to demonstrate that we can produce electricity cheaper than coal,” Dr Yumkella said.

He continued: “South Africa led the way for electricity production through renewable. The same thing is happening in Dubai, Chile and China.”

Solar Energy Fund launch

As the country has been grappling with insufficient power, the Bol saw fit to intervene and assist MSMEs in acquiring alternative electricity supply.

According to media reports, the finance company noted that it was estimated that in 2015, manufacturers spent as much as N3.5trillion ($11 billion) to generate alternative power due to such challenges.

Speaking at the launch, the acting managing director of BoI, Waheed Olagunju, noted that MSMEs play a major role as the engine through which most countries in the world thrive, media reported.

According to him, the growth and development of MSMEs “are crucial to the level of industrialisation, modernisation, income per capita, equitable distribution of income, welfare and quality of life enjoyed by the citizenry”.

Sustainable alternative power

It is reported that Olagunju further stated that the performance of the MSME subsector is closely associated with the development of a nation.

He added that in Nigeria, the growth of this sector has been hampered over the years by a combination of factors, including access to reliable electricity.

“A robust mix of energy sources combined with an improved end-use efficiency would be required to meet the country’s energy needs, and this is where the utilisation of renewable energy sources come into play. Renewable energy provide healthy and sustainable alternative to the continuous use of fossil fuels, with long term cost saving advantages, especially in the absence of reliable power supply which is an essential ingredient for growth,” Olagunju said.

He continued explaining: “It is therefore important to support the provision of sustainable and reliable energy for MSMEs, which is why the Bank of Industry has decided to provide the Solar Energy Fund to MSMEs.”