Participants at the 2022 15th Annual Nigerian Association for Energy Economics (NAEE) in collaboration with the International Association for Energy Economics have advocated the decentralization of Renewal energy to the rural dwellers to empower them economically and reduce the over-dependence on electricity. The theme of this year’s Annual Conference is ‘Energy Transition and Climate Change Policy: Optimal Pathways to Sustainable Development in Africa’

The President of the Association, Professor Yinka Omorogbe in her welcome speech, informed the gathering that the conference will be graced with stellar presenters from the public and private sectors who will seize the occasion to dissect the various energy issues bedeviling Nigeria and some African countries and proffer solutions and suggestions towards sustainable development and sound economies. She highlighted nine (9) Benchmarks for a long, healthy life, which according to her include access to electricity, air quality, food supply, wealth inequality, happiness, infant mortality, life expectancy, prosperity, and sanitation.

Professor Omorogbe reiterated the need for countries in Africa to chat a pathway for Africa’s renewable energy mix which in her words presents great potential for over 50% off-grid communities in Nigeria and other African countries. She emphasized that decisive action is needed to provide access to clean energy for those presently living without it on the continent. ‘Energy access should be just, inclusive, and equitable, with no one left behind’ she affirmed.

In his welcome address, the Executive Secretary, PTDF, and the Chief Host of the event, Dr Bello Aliyu Gusau stated that for Africa as a continent to thrive, it must be at the forefront of the fight against climate change. He noted that there is a glimpse of hope as some African countries are rising to the challenge and have robust plans in place to finance this transition from its hydrocarbon resources.  According to Dr Gusau, energy transition should be as painless as possible, with its effects properly managed without compromising the continent’s energy security or slowing economic development. “The exploitation of hydrocarbon will play an important role in shaping Africa’s energy future as well as its quest to meet its developmental aspirations, he said.

The Executive Secretary who was represented at the Conference by the General Manager, Strategic Planning and Documentation, PTDF, Mr Jide Adebulehin, decried the numerous challenges facing Nigeria from the impact of climate change. These impacts he said can be seen in the rising temperatures, inconsistent rain patterns, flooding, drought, and polluted freshwater resources. He, however, reaffirmed Nigeria’s position on the energy transition which he said has been very clearly and loudly echoed at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP26, which was held in Glasgow, the United Kingdom in 2021.

Dr Gusau concluded by informing the gathering that the PTDF desires to develop strong relationships with the industry to ensure that the benefits of PTDF capacity-building interventions are impeccably achieved through collaborations with stakeholders, sponsorship of research programmes and development of proficiencies in energy economics and other oil and gas related areas to drive the process of technology development, acquisition and transfer in the Oil and Gas Industry. According to him“PTDF is proud to be associated with the efforts of the Nigerian Association for Energy Economics in bringing together all stakeholders in the energy industry to discuss and address topical issues in the industry. “It will gladden your hearts to know that the Fund will always be here to support the NAEE and other important stakeholders in the industry in future events”.

Notable industry players were also at the conference to present papers on the topic under discussion. These include Professor Jidere Bala, Director-General, Energy Commission of Nigeria, Mr, Osagie Okunbor, Chair, Shell Group of Companies Nigeria, N.J. Ayuk, Executive Chairman, African Energy Chamber, Mr. Peter Hartley, President, IAEE, etc.

The discourse on energy transition cannot be overemphasized. This is essential because energy transition is a crucial enabler of sustainable development and climate resilience. Positive action from this direction will create more new jobs, stimulate growth, and bring about improved social and health benefits in Africa.