85% of Rural Dwellers Lack Access to Electricity – Experts

Renewable and sustainable energy experts have said over 85 percent of the nation’s rural dwellers still lack access to electricity due to low energy and grid generation capacity in sub-Saharan Africa.

Speaking at a press briefing during the weekend, Chairman, Local Organising Committee of the Nigeria Alternative Energy Expo (NAEE) 2013, Dr Emmanuel Onyejeose, said energy experts have raised concerns over low energy generation capacity which prompted the designing of an initiative on double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa.

The event with the theme, ‘Promoting Energy Efficiency for National Development and Environmental Sustainability’ is the third of its kind in Nigeria and will hold from October 16th to 18th at the Yar’ Adua Centre Abuja, with local and international speakers, delegates and exhibitors of renewable technologies ranging from solar powered energy sources to small hydro power plants, in attendance.

Dr. Onyejeose, who expressed his disaffection over the hardships posed by lack of electricity infrastructures in rural areas said, “More than two-thirds of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is without electricity, and more than 85 percent of those living in rural areas lack access.”

He maintained that over $300bn investments would be required by Sub-Saharan Africa to achieve universal electricity access by 2030. “Greater private sector investment would be needed to add up more than 10,000megawatts to increase electricity access by at least 20million users with on-grid, mini-grid, and off-grid solutions,” he added.

The Country Manager, Mathesis Consulting Limited, Mr Larry Edeh, however urged stakeholders to join in the campaign for the adoption of alternative, sustainable and renewable energy technologies to achieve the Sustainability for All Project of the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN).

Edeh, who stressed the need to leverage practical knowledge of alternative energy technologies in Nigeria said, “Coming to the area of practical aspect, in this exhibition, we are expecting about 18 companies in different countries coming with their technologies on renewable both biomass, and small hydro technologies.”

The NAEE, a global annual energy event in Nigeria with stakeholders drawn from public and private power sector, has the PAX SA Limited in South Africa, Mathesis Consulting UK, African Sustainable Energy Association, (AFSEA) and the Southern Africa Alternative Energy Association, (SAEA) as organisers to bring energy solutions and services roundtable to African developing countries.

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