Nigeria Alternative Energy Expo sets sights on solar

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Solar is set to play a major role at this year’s Nigeria Alternative Energy Expo (NAEE) in Abuja, with off-grid solutions, power purchase agreements and pay-as-you-go solar among the event’s main topics.

Taking place Oct. 14-16 at the Nigerian capital’s Yar Adau Convention Center, the NAEE is expected to draw some 4,000 delegates from around the globe — the largest number to date in the Expo’s five-year history.

According to event organizers, the high number of attendees reflects growing interest among global investors in opportunities in Africa, with registered delegates spanning the entire value chain of the energy sector.

The Expo is aimed at renewable energy project developers looking for investment as well as at investors looking for projects and will offer private conference rooms for closed-door meetings between investors and stakeholders.

"NAEE is a very strong platform to engage future partners and understand the opportunities across Africa,” organizers said. Emmaunel Onyejeose, chairman of the conference’s local organizing committee, added that NAEE will help stakeholders “capture the massive potential of Nigeria’s energy sector. The response from investors has been unprecedented and it will be exciting to learn from them how Nigeria can successfully use its natural resources to turn its economy into a booming global empire."

The Expo’s theme this year is "Consolidating Energy Transformation Gains: Lessons Learned from Key International Players." Discussions will examine international development in South Africa, Europe and Canada, highlighting the common challenges faced there and how Nigeria can avoid them. Other topics include off-grid energy solutions in Nigeria, power purchase agreements (PPA) and pay-as-you-go solar as well as the green economy, technological innovations and smart cities.

The Expo will also highlight the latest technology trends in the renewable energy sector, promote renewable energy as a preferred solution and highlight the role renewable energy can play in accelerating overall development of Nigeria’s power sector. The conference brings together government ministers, high-level decision makers, private sector players and renewable energy specialists to discuss and exchange their visions, experiences and solutions.

Onyejeose said the country was ready to “chart the way forward for the industry with like-minded role-players that realize the benefits of investing in renewable energy.

"We believe that the renewable energy value chain offers solutions for increasing energy access, security of supply, emissions reduction, sustainable development and trust that this conference will contribute to the advancement of this sector in Nigeria, Africa and around the world.”

The Nigerian government is targeting a 20% share of renewables, including solar, wind, biomass and hydro, in its future grid electricity mix. This year’s Expo will introduce the country’s new Green 2020 Program (G2020), an NAEE initiative supported by the government, businesses and financiers aimed at helping Nigeria’s 170 million residents embrace energy efficiency and promoting energy sustainability.

Chris Edeh, chairman of the Nigeria Alternative Energy Consortium, said the G2020 program would deliver up to 20 MW of renewable energy by 2020.

“We need to appreciate the size and extent of the resources we have,” Edeh said. "By far, Nigeria has the biggest renewable resources in Africa and one of the biggest in the world.” Edeh added that over the years, the NAEE had provided the motivation for several momentous initiatives, including the Nigeria Energy Award, which honors leading companies, individuals and government representatives that have contributed to the country’s renewable energy efforts.

The Nigerian Ministry of Power will host the NAEE 2015 in cooperation with the Africa Sustainable Energy Association, the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) and Mathesis Consulting.