Innovate UK KTN and partners address fragmentation in Nigeria’s energy sector
While Nigeria is endowed with large oil, gas, hydro and solar resources, and has the potential to generate 12,522 MW of electric power from existing plants, it is only able to dispatch around 4,000 MW, which is insufficient for a country of over 195 million people1. In efforts to solve the looming conundrum, Innovate UK KTN in partnership with REA and NCIC hosted a knowledge-sharing engagement in Abuja on 23 June 2022.
Energy Catalyst is an Innovate UK programme with co-funding from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Global Challenges Research Fund, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The programme accelerates the innovation needed to develop sustainable energy solutions, through financial and advisory support, and by building strategic partnerships and uncovering new insights, such as introducing Nigeria’s local energy ecosystem to opportunities within the UK.
Although Lagos is the country’s financial capital, the hybrid event was held in Abuja as the geographical location of public and private energy sector players in Nigeria. The event in collaboration with Rural Electrification Agency (REA) was attended by key players within the energy sector such as Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad from Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Bankole Oloruntoba from the Nigeria Climate Innovation Centre (NCIC), Dave Nwosu from Nevadic, Simon Igofose from PyroGenesys Ltd, and many more.
Speaking about the importance of partnerships, NCIC CEO, Bankole Oloruntoba says: “If there’s something we think that can help with the emergency of a greener economy in Nigeria, we think that partnership is key. In driving partnership finance, we say that it’s the bedrock of the impact of sustainability.”
Oloruntoba adds: “Energy has a really huge gap; the market is still very wide. I am happy to see a good representation from the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), which contributes a 30-40% increase to renewable energy in Nigeria.”
Further echoing the importance of addressing the collaboration gaps in Nigeria’s energy sector, REA Managing Director Engr. Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad notes: “Partnerships are vital to the work we do, given that the government has taken a deliberate step to have a private sector driven initiative through the Nigeria Electrification project, the REA electrification fund and the solar power Naija programme.”
He adds, “These engagements in this energy ecosystem have been really improved in the last couple of years, with key stakeholders in the sector deliberately collaborating for a common cause.”
The AceOn Group, with Nigerian Partner Nevadic, were successful in being awarded funding under the Energy Catalyst round 8. The organisation received a grant to develop a sodium-ion-based battery technology for a portable solar generator to service the Sub-Saharan market.
Nwosu, the CEO of Nevadic Limited, said that this would have not been possible without the assistance of Innovate UK and the UK aid and government. Nigeria was chosen as the testbed for the piloting of the programme.
“We are honoured to see Nigerian talent such as that of Nevadic Limited which brings solutions to Nigeria’s biggest energy challenge, which is the supply of electricity, work with some partners in the UK, and solve real-life problems. The Energy Catalyst event is the perfect platform that Global Alliance Africa can salvage to bring together key stakeholders and communities to drive energy access across Nigeria, and thus end energy poverty,” Global Alliance Africa’s Knowledge Transfer Manager for Nigeria Joshua Adedeji concludes.
About Energy Catalyst
Energy Catalyst is an Innovate UK programme with funding provided through the UK’s Ayrton Fund, part of the UK’s International Climate Finance commitment, which includes investment from the Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), as part of the Transforming Energy Access (TEA) Platform, and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Since it started in 2014, it has invested more than £60 million in over 360 projects. Energy Catalyst works with a range of partner organisations to build collaborations between organisations applying to Energy Catalyst and guide organisations looking to understand energy access issues and potential markets. This includes a virtual marketplace, webinars that explore project opportunities and facilitating introductions between organisations from the United Kingdom and organisations based in sub-Saharan Africa.
For more information about the programme, please visit https://energycatalyst.ukri.org/
Current funding opportunities
Energy Catalyst Round 9
Opens: 18/05/2022 Closes: 10/08/2022
Organisations can apply for a share of up to £20 million to create new or improved clean energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or the Indo-Pacific regions.