By Bassey Udo
The quest for global energy transition away from fossil fuel must be balanced with local aspirations and priorities, participants in a recent ‘National Dialogue on Energy Transition said.
The one-day dialogue was hosted by the Nigerian Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), in partnership with the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) and BudgIT Foundation.
As a country dependent on fossil fuel for 90 percent of its foreign exchange earnings and around 50 percent of government revenues, the participants said in a communique issued on Thursday in Abuja observed that a decline in fossil fuel consumption globally would be detrimental to Nigeria’s economy.
Energy transition, they said, has
negative implications for livelihoods, with women and other vulnerable groups bearing the brunt.
Now that the government has published Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan, the participants said it was critical for the plan to be responsive to the Nigerian context and the realities the Nigerian people face.
The dialogue was a multi-stakeholders platform for state and non-state actors to
discuss, debate, engage, and make meaningful contributions to the ongoing discourse on energy transition in Nigeria.
Also, it was expected to galvanise needed national consensus on Nigeria’s pathways to the
transition and increase public awareness of the challenges, risks, and opportunities associated with the energy transition, including its implications on the economy and livelihoods.
Deliberations during the different sessions identified various
challenges, including the dearth of inputs of stakeholders and citizens on the energy transition described as not being consultative.
Given the fierce global competition for energy transition finance, funding for key infrastructure was lacking, with about $1.9 trillion required under Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan to fund Nigeria’s transition process.
Besides, the dialogue noted that the non-alignment of the Nigerian Energy Transition Plan with the National development plan, and Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) could pose an impediment to its implementation.
Other challenges include lack of adequate infrastructure, connectivity and cost-reflective framework, which could threaten the successful implementation of the natural gas ambitions under the energy transition plan.
With major oil companies divesting; and leaving environmental degradation in their wake, the dialogue said there were potential
losses of revenues if assets are not divested to capable investors.
Due to the introduction of policy reforms by every new administration, the dialogue noted that successful implementation of the Energy Transition Plan beyond the current administration might be
threatened, while insecurity, such as the sabotage and vandalisation of transmission lines, would affect business enablers and revenue shortfalls needed to fund the development and possible deployment of the energy transition plan.
At the end of the dialogue, participants urged the government and other stakeholders to the Executive, Parliament, National Council on Climate Change, Nigerian
Energy Transition Office, Federal Ministry of Environment, Federal Ministry of Budget and National
Planning, Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development:
ensure the Energy Transition Plan translated into an implementable action plan that not only aligned with the National Development Plan and MTEF, but also consultative and inclusive.
The dialogue also stressed need to operate the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) to facilitate the use of gas as a transition fuel and decarbonisation, while the federal government should be explicit on the delivery mechanism of the energy transition and how the green economy would translate to job creation for Nigerians.
Also, they called for transparency, accountability, and stakeholder engagement to be mainstreamed into the Nigeria energy transition plan/agenda with a strong monitoring and evaluation framework.
The Energy Transition plan, and the dialogue said, must be driven by a roadmap to define the modalities for funding and identify the risks and opportunities of the transition process, while citizens’ ownership and awareness of the energy transition process should be key,in terms of public education strategy to enable citizens to make informed decisions.
Other resolutions were that greater attention be paid to the solid mineral sector as it holds potential for the Nigeria
Energy Transition Plan, because of the availability of strategic energy minerals, such as lithium,
cobalt, etc., in Nigeria.
Again, the framework must be put in place to resolve the legacy conflict issues around solid minerals, particularly in the North
East should be adopted to ensure that the ramp-up of the energy transition does not create
further social upheaval.
Besides, they said the energy transition should avoid replicating the errors from the fossil fuel industry,while host communities and environmental concerns must be taken seriously and incorporated into the energy transition plan and implementation.
“A Just transition should ensure the remediation of the degraded environment by divesting
companies such as oil spillage.
“There is a need for policy consistency to attract investment from key actors in the energy sector”, the communique said.
The dialogue featured a presentation and panel discussion on ‘Energy Transition: Global Perspectives for National Consideration’ led by Tengi George-Ikoli, Senior Officer, Natural Resource Governance Institute with high-level contributions from Lai Yahaya, Senior Liaison Officer, Nigeria Energy Transition Office, Nuhu Habib, Executive Commissioner, Development and Production, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Osten Olorunsola, Adviser to the Nigeria Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative, Victoria Ohaeri, Executive Director, Spaces for Change and Zira
Qhaghe, Nigeria Focal Person, African Climate Foundation.
It also featured a breakout session on “Securing a just and inclusive energy transition for Nigeria, The role of gas in Nigeria’s energy transition,
Funding and financing the transition to scale up clean and reliable energy, and Diversifying Nigeria’s economy for sustainable development.
In his remarks during the opening session, the Executive Secretary of NEITI, Orji Ogbonnaya Orji, emphasised the need for Nigeria to mainstream transparency, accountability and
equity into her energy transition agenda and process.