Nigeria combines a large population and dynamic economy with the world’s biggest unelectrified population. Despite the abundance of various energy resources in the country, Nigeria struggles to meet its growing energy demands. Nigeria’s energy poverty state is attributable to its overreliance on fossil fuel sources for energy supply. Other energy resources, particularly, renewable energy resources, were not sufficiently explored.
Nigeria’s economic growth potential is severely hampered by epileptic power supply, as there is a wide gap between demand and supply of energy in Nigeria. About 92 million Nigerians do not have access to grid electricity and this number of Nigerians without electricity access constitutes 43% of Nigeria’s population, thus, making Nigeria the country with the largest energy access deficit in the world.
To address this situation, the Nigerian government in a transformative effort, enacted the Electricity Act, 2023 (the ‘‘Act’’ or ‘‘EA’’). Amongst others, the EA, provides a robust legal and regulatory framework for the deep exploration and integration of renewable energy solutions into the country’s energy mix.
Through the EA, the Nigeria government plans to diversify the energy generation mix, reduce reliance on fossil fuel generation and harness the vast potential of the country’s renewable energy resources.
The Act further aims at depleting the country’s unelectrified population through the exploration of energy off-grid and mini grid renewable solutions. The Act creates an opportunity for indigenous capacity building for the development of technology and skill for the exploration of renewable energy solutions. If implemented well, the Act positions Nigeria for a smooth transitioning to a sustainable and environmentally friendly energy ecosystem in line with its Energy Transition Plan designed to tackle the challenges of energy poverty and climate change crisis.
On the above backdrop, this article analyses the historical development of Nigeria’s renewable energy sector, highlights the key provisions and implications of the Act.