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Vice President calls for increased energy production to address electricity deficit

By Faridat Salifu

Vice President Kashim Shettima called for an urgent scale-up of energy production in Nigeria to address significant electricity access deficits and climate change impacts.

Speaking at the recent Energy Transition Symposium, themed “Energy Transition in an Oil-Dependent Economy,” the Vice President emphasized the critical need for rapid economic development to improve the livelihoods of Nigerians.

Represented by Mr. Sadiq Wanka, Special Adviser to the President on Power and Infrastructure, Shettima highlighted that 45 percent of Nigerians currently lack access to electricity, underscoring the necessity of bold actions to mitigate climate change’s adverse effects.

The number two citizen pointed to severe environmental challenges, such as the highest deforestation rate globally due to reliance on biomass for energy, desert encroachment in the north, and rising sea levels threatening southern coastal communities.

He stressed the importance of managing these issues to facilitate positive change for millions of Nigerians.

“The energy transition plan aims for Nigeria to achieve a net zero economy by 2060,” Shettima said, noting the need to maximize petroleum resources in the short term to support this goal.

He highlighted government initiatives, including tax credits and incentives for developing Greenfield associated gas projects.

The vice president detailed a dual approach combining renewable energy investments with continued oil and gas development. This strategy includes significant progress in hydropower, tapping into 14,000 megawatts of potential and bringing 700 megawatts online in 2024.

Shettima also noted investments in local value chains, such as solar panel assembly and lithium processing, critical components of the energy transition.

He acknowledged the challenges of fully implementing Nigeria’s energy transition plan, emphasizing the need for local and international collaboration to secure financing and prepare the workforce for a net zero economy.

Former Minister of Power, Barth Nnaji, highlighted Nigeria’s vast natural gas reserves, totaling approximately 206 trillion cubic feet.

He urged focused efforts to harness this resource for domestic use and export, which could significantly boost national revenue and development.

The symposium, organized by Development Agenda Magazine with support from the Ford Foundation, aimed to address a network of issues surrounding Nigeria’s energy transition.

Convener Paddy Ezeala underscored the need for informed decision-making to navigate the transition process effectively.

“Nigeria must prepare for a future where fossil fuels are less marketable, with profound social and economic implications,” Ezeala said. The symposium explored strategies to mitigate negative impacts on communities and ensure justice for affected residents.

This comprehensive approach aims to steer Nigeria towards a sustainable energy future, balancing immediate economic needs with long-term environmental goals.



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