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Policy Proposal

Delta State Renewable Energy Policy Roadmap

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Delta State is blessed with many natural resources. As the second largest oil-producing state in Nigeria, for decades it has focused on the production of fossil fuels while relying on the national grid to provide electricity to its residents. This situation has, however, neither enabled the state to industrialize and diversify away from oil dependence nor supply the energy needs of its 5.4 million residents.

Located in the South-South geopolitical zone, it is part of the Niger Delta region which straddles the Atlantic coast. Although a majority of its population is engaged in agriculture and fishing, the state features vibrant commercial activities. In addition, with projected population growth over the next half-decade, and with increasing vulnerability to climate change, not only is there a need to identify new avenues for increasing the supply of energy, the role of renewable energy solutions must specifically be explored.

The present national grid capacity and power distribution system are inadequate to supply Delta State’s electricity needs. Available estimates from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show that 78.3% of households in Delta State were electrified by 2014. This is higher than the South-South household electrification percentage of 68.3% and the national percentage of 55.6%. However, due to the limitations of the national grid, more than half of Delta State’s population is either off-grid or highly underserved by the national grid. For many communities, electricity may be unavailable 87.4% of the time. Moreover, fossil fuels (particularly gas-fired power plants) make up 87.5% of the electricity mix supplied to Delta State.

Additionally, with proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 30% of the surface area of Delta state is covered by water. Although the level of water security is high with over 80% of Delta State residents having access to water, water quality and safety levels vary wildly. In terms of energy for cooking, fuel wood constitutes about 80% of the fuel used for cooking in Delta State. Hence 43% of Delta State residents depend on depleting the tree stock in the forest in Delta State. This contributes to deforestation, climate change, and health problems, especially for women and children.

According to a comprehensive assessment report conducted in 2013, the state is also very vulnerable to the impact of climate change. Research sponsored by the World Bank in 2020 estimates the cost of environmental degradation for Delta State is estimated at 5.7% for the state, with most of the damage being due to flooding, water pollution, and erosion. On one hand, since about 75% of the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions from the state are due to oil and gas exploration, a separate concerted policy approach would be needed as part of climate adaptation and mitigation for the state. On the other hand, it is expected that the anticipated increase in temperature due to climate change will continue to lead to increased pressure and demand for various energy sources, which is partly addressed by this document.

There is therefore a pressing need to transition from an oil-based economy to a more diversified one in which renewable and clean energy plays a more prominent role. The goal is to improve the electrification rate and to replace existing sources of energy that are not climate- and health-friendly in Delta State. Yet there has hitherto been an absence of coordinated efforts by all stakeholders (government, civil society organizations, and communities) towards improving energy access through renewable energy adoption, both as a solution to energy poverty and as a climate change mitigation and adaptation measure. In the past, different ministries and departments have pursued green initiatives – the State Ministry of Energy has done some work on solar street lighting; the State Ministry of Environment has been involved with waste recycling plants, disbursing clean cookstoves and biogas digesters. There is a need to harmonize and consolidate these efforts.

While the federal government has a national renewable energy policy, state governments are not closely involved. Most states have also not produced their own renewable energy policies; therefore, much has been left to the central government to design and implement. There is, however, a need to complement and supplement these national efforts in order to make Delta State energy-secure, self-reliant and prosperous. This would contribute to the prosperity and energy security of the State and nation. This is in line with Section 14 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 which gives state governments the authority to provide for and regulate their electricity systems.

This Roadmap outlines our plan to create an enabling environment and take an active role in improving access to renewable energy for Delta State residents. It specifies targets and means for renewable energy development in Delta State over the next five years. The focus is on off-grid renewable energy solutions, with specifications for measures to be taken in the short-, medium- and long-term.

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