Nigeria has an abundance of energy resources and widespread energy poverty, a shift to a low-carbon economy can help increase energy access and reduce energy poverty. This is the key message of a new report “Low Carbon Energy Development in Nigeria: Challenges and Opportunities” prepared by the International Centre for Energy, Environment and Development (ICEED) and published by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) for the SUNGAS Project.
The SUNGAS project aims to catalyse development of Nigeria’s natural gas and renewable energy markets through innovation, demonstration, policy dialogue and advocacy.
The report provides a broad overview of the state of low-carbon development in Nigeria and offers insights into how the low-carbon development agenda can help to promote access to energy for poor and isolated communities in Nigeria. It identifies key elements of climate-compatible development, enabling policies, emerging investments, local-level implementation efforts, and the role of international partnerships.
This report highlights the scope of the challenge of energy poverty – 60% of Nigerians are living without access to electricity and 72% of households depend on the traditional “three stone fire” for cooking. Though Nigeria produces large amounts of gas in the Niger Delta, very few households use it. Gas flaring and other energy-related emissions represent a quarter of Nigeria’s total emissions. The government has over the years set many deadlines for ending gas flaring but none has been kept.
The report finds that a low-carbon agenda alone will not transform Nigeria’s energy sector for climate adaptation and mitigation, or support pro-poor development. It further finds that getting champions to promote the low-carbon development agenda is a major challenge as influential institutions that are vital to reforming policy are disconnected from the climate change policy space. Actors that dominate the climate change policy space have no great influence in the sectors most relevant to shifting to low-carbon development. As a result, little progress is being made on gas investment policies and implementation of transportation, agriculture and power sector reforms.
The report recommends an eight-point agenda for action. The need to establish a national energy access programme that will set an achievable electrification target; build a coalition to ensure the successful implementation of already agreed national policies; set electricity tariffs right, deepen the voice of civil society groups to demand government accountability and the need for a clean energy finance initiative among others.
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