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Africa Day 2022: Energy Key to Ending African Food Crisis – ECP

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Energy Capital & Power (ECP) says enhancing investment and development of the African energy sector will help drive the development of the continent.  

ECP said this on Wednesday while marking the 2022 Africa Day tagged: The Year of Nutrition. It said “Energy is the backbone of every economy. Energy is a fundamental enabler and key driver of Africa’s development. 

“Access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy goes beyond simply keeping the lights on, however, but drives industrialisation, agriculture, and infrastructure expansion while improving access to medical, education, and food services,” ECP added. 

Africa’s leading investment platform for the energy sector stated that it remains fully focused on enhancing investment and development across the African energy sector, making a strong case for energy as a key driver of food resilience and climate change mitigation.

According to its official report made available to Investors King, ECP revealed that “Africa is facing a mounting food crisis which has only been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Climate change, political and economic crises, and regional conflict and displacement have resulted in over 346 million people suffering from severe food insecurity while 452 million suffer from moderate food insecurity. 

“While this insecurity continues to have significant consequences on the physical, mental and physiological development of the population, the burden of malnutrition transcends into the socioeconomic space, with the Cost of Hunger in Africa Study estimating that African countries are losing the equivalent of between 1.9 and 16.5 per cent of their gross domestic profit due to child under-nutrition. Accordingly, this year’s Africa Day is being celebrated under the theme, ‘Strengthening Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent,’ centered around the need to strengthen agro-food systems and health and social protection systems for the acceleration of human, social and economic capital development,” the statement added. 

ECP said it believes that ongoing efforts to achieve net zero hunger can be strengthened through the expansion and improvement of energy systems across Africa. Currently, 65 per cent of Africa’s population relies on subsistence farming, and in order to tackle food insecurity, governments across the continent are looking at deploying large-scale modern agricultural systems, systems which require significant energy at every stage of the production stage.

“By scaling up investment in key energy industries, Africa has the opportunity to address two imminent crises: energy and food insecurity. The correlation between improved energy and food security is evident: by strengthening energy access and affordability, countries can strengthen agro-food systems continent wide, tackling food security and driving socioeconomic growth,” said Laila Bastati, Managing Director, ECP.

The African Development Bank Group’s Board of Directors had on Monday approved a $1.5bn Emergency Food Production Facility to help tackle the global food crisis sparked by the Russian-Ukraine conflict. 

Africa’s only AAA-rated financial institution added that the funds will help 20 million African farmers produce an extra 38 million metric tons of food to address growing fears of starvation and food insecurity on the continent.

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Renewables Can Provide Nearly 60 Per Cent of Nigeria’s Energy Demand by 2050

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Nearly 60 per cent of Nigeria’s energy demand in 2050 can be met with renewable energy sources, saving 40 per cent in natural gas and 65 per cent in oil needs at the same time, according to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

With a growing population and a range of socioeconomic challenges, Nigeria requires sustainable energy sources to meet the growing needs for all the sectors of its economy and achieve universal access to modern energy services.

Renewable Energy Roadmap for Nigeria, developed in collaboration with the Energy Commission of Nigeria, demonstrates how renewable energy technologies are key to achieving a sustainable energy mix and meeting the country’s growing needs.

“By using its abundant, untapped renewables”, IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera said, “Nigeria can provide sustainable energy for all its citizens in a cost-effective manner. Nigeria has a unique opportunity to develop a sustainable energy system based on renewables that support socioeconomic recovery and development, while addressing climate challenges and accomplishing energy security.”

Dr. Adeleke Olorunimbe Mamora, Nigeria’s Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation added: “The highly distributed institutional structure of the energy sector in Nigeria means that coordination of policies will be essential to unlocking integrated energy transition planning and ensuring its success. A cross cutting agency or body tasked with doing so would be helpful in building consensus and developing a coherent plan which in turn would allow for the scaling up of renewable energy to meet the needs across the Nigerian energy sector.”

The share of primary energy requirements met with renewable energy can reach 47 per cent by 2030 and 57 per cent by 2050, according to IRENA’s report. Electrification will play a significant role in achieving higher renewable energy shares with electricity in final energy use nearly doubling by 2050.

Investment in renewables will be more cost-effective than the conventional pathway. IRENA’s Energy Transition Scenario has lower investment costs than planned policies, 1.22 trillion USD compared to 1.24 trillion USD respectively. This corresponds to 35 billion USD versus 36 billion USD per year respectively.

Advancing the energy transition requires a shift and scaling-up of investments in the short-term to avoid locked in fossil fuel  infrastructure investments with long lifetimes such as natural gas pipelines. In 2050, significantly less use of natural gas and oil compared to planned policies has profound implications for infrastructure investment in fossil fuels, increasing the risk of stranded assets.

Policies for the accelerated deployment of renewables are needed to unlock the report’s benefits. Policy coordination is essential to unlocking successful integrated energy transition planning in Nigeria.

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NERC Ascribes DisCos Losses to Energy Theft, Refusal to Pay Bills by Customers

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The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has revealed that the Electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos) in the country lose N4.79 out of every N10 worth of energy sold.

The NERC, has however attributed the losses suffered by the 11 electricity distribution companies to ineffective distribution networks, energy theft, poor revenue collection and refusal of customers to pay their bills promptly.

Investors King gathered that the Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection (ATC&C) loss of the DisCos amounted to 47.88 percent in Q1 of 2022.

The data from NERC further explained that the distribution companies recorded 22.62 percent technical and commercial losses and 32.64 percent collection loss.

“Conversely, DisCos that underperform relative to their allowed ATC&C losses (i.e., a higher ATC&C loss than allowed), will be unable to earn the expected returns on its set tariffs and could risk long-term financial challenges. 

“The ATC & C loss was largely driven by Benin (56.75%), Kano (53.89%), Kaduna (74.86%), Enugu (54.19%), and Jos (67.92%) DisCos,” NERC said.

The Commission directed the distribution companies to embark on emergency remedial actions to enhance their ATC&C losses by increasing revenue means.

It noted that if the situation persists, the companies will incur much debts which will affect their equity and hinder them from meeting the target.

“Failure to resolve this will not only prevent the DisCos from being able to meet their upstream obligations, but it will also saddle them with too much debt and erode their equity,” NERC stated.

The Electricity Regulatory body stated that on market remittance, the bills of both Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET) and the Market Operator (MO) to DisCos was N205.63 billion in the first quarter of 2022.

The breakdown of the invoices earmarks N164.86 billion as generation cost and N40.77 billion as cost for transmission and administrative services. The DisCos collectively paid a total sum of N135.69 billion from the estimated bill left with  N69.94 billion outstanding balance, placing its remittance performance at 65.99 percent.

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Demand For Solar Energy Globally Rising Fast, Sales May Exceed $220bn in 2023– Report

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Sales of solar energy globally might reach $220bn this year as its demand has greatly risen by 25–30 percent, says Bloomberg Intelligence (BI) new report.

Investors King understands that solar energy is the fastest-growing segment of the energy sector in 2023 which may extend to subsequent years with bigger sales.

According to Bloomberg Intelligence, in its Global Solar Energy 2023 Outlook, the demand for solar energy in 2022 rose about 40 percent with industry revenues at 50 percent.

“The double digit growth is fuelled by favourable economics: a new solar system’s levelised cost of electricity is about $40 a megawatt hour, roughly in line with a new wind plant and over 50% cheaper vs a new coal one.

“We expect 2023 revenue to increase the quickest at inverter manufacturers and equipment suppliers. Sales at Enphase are expected to be up 35 percent in 2023 and 29 percent at SolarEdge,” the report stated.

BI further predicted that the cost of installing solar power is likely to become less expensive compared to nuclear power in subsequent years as manufacturing improves. 

The International Energy Agency (IEA), also declared that solar energy will surpass coal power by 2027, saying the energy crisis and war in Ukraine will direct attention to renewables.

The IEA pointed out that renewable energy will top sources of electricity generation globally in 2025 and twice as much renewable capacity will be derived from 2022 to 2027. 

BI Senior Analyst for Clean Energy, Rob Barnett, said the fast growth line of solar energy sales amongst popular energy firms will not drop as measures to improve its growth are fixed.

Barnett said, “The growth of solar follows a record 2022, during which global solar capacity additions expanded about 47 percent”.

“Best-in-class peers such as Enphase or First Solar could see their sales growth exceed 30% in 2023, and amid such fast line growth, we believe profitability metrics are poised to improve based on an easing of input costs and supply chain constraints.”

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