By Tony Obiechina Abuja
The European Union (EU) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the German agency on Thursday signed an agreement for the extension of the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP) Phase II until November 30th 2022.
With the extension, the EU has granted additional funding of €15 million to the initial €20 million, dedicated to support the Nigerian renewable energy and energy efficiency sector.
The total funding of NESP II now comprises €35 million from the EU and €13 million from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
NESP is a technical assistance programme co-funded by the EU and the BMZ since 2013. It is implemented by GIZ in collaboration with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Power (FMP) and aims to foster investments for renewable energy and energy efficiency and improving access to electricity for disadvantaged, rural communities.
Head of Cooperation at the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Cecile Tassin-Pelzer, commended the achievements of the NESP programme over the last years saying, “the programme is a notable example of efficient cooperation among the EU and the Nigerian partners, bringing tangible results to the country.
“We are glad to continue this successful collaboration with GIZ and the Nigerian Government to help the country achieve the renewable energy and energy efficiency targets,” she said.
The main activities of NESP are to advise public and private stakeholders on how to best utilise the potential of renewable energy and energy efficiency. During the first phase (2013-2017), NESP supported the Nigerian Government in developing key sustainable energy policies and regulatory instruments, such as the Mini-Grid Regulations, the National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy, and the Building Energy Efficiency Code.
The first phase received a total funding of €24.5 million, with the EU and BMZ contributing €15.5 million and €9 million respectively.
In the second phase, which started at the end of 2017, NESP shifted its focus from framework support to implementation. Two tender processes, namely the Mini-Grid Acceleration Scheme and the Interconnected Mini-Grid Acceleration Scheme have been developed to support private developers. This was done in collaboration with respective Distribution Companies to set up mini-grids in unelectrified or underserved rural areas.
“The platform aims to offer the most accurate data and latest tools that empower data-driven and least cost electrification planning in Nigeria. Over 3,000 settlements and 2.6 million buildings have been remotely mapped, with over 50,000 km electricity grid tracked in 22 states,” she stated.
Furthermore, NESP supports energy efficiency in buildings and industry, amongst other activities, by training professionals in how to conduct energy audits. NESP collaborates with national training institutes in offering trainings on clean energy, and is continuously expanding the Training Partnership Network, which was created in 2017.
Special emphasis is given to the promotion of gender equality in the sector by offering training scholarships and internships to women.
Under the NESP II extension, the programme will expand its activities and up-scale geographically while extending its measures to strengthen the support to the Nigerian Government in the areas of solar battery recycling, clean cookstoves and access to finance mechanisms for renewable energy and energy efficiency investments.