Clean energy innovation is undisputedly a pillar of the global energy transition. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says energy innovations are needed in information technology, policy frameworks, market design, business models, finance instruments, enabling infrastructure and sector coupling.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), governments have a particularly central and wide-ranging role to play in the innovation process that goes far beyond the provision of funds for research and development.
In Nigeria, some young people are in the business of clean energy innovation. They work tirelessly with little resources, trying to solve challenges of clean cooking access, power supply gaps and fostering a circular economy in the country.
It will be interesting to know how government policies affect the way they work and how much government support they have received from either the state or federal government. So, Nairametrics decided to question some active energy innovators on this.
Emmanuel Ezenwere is the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Arone Energy, a Nigerian based manufacturer of the Luminar, a high-performance, and low-cost solar grid system. This is a new category of compact integrated power systems that provide homes and businesses in Nigeria with clean electricity. It is an all-in-one compact system that saves customers high installation, and logistics costs while providing enough power for most appliances in homes.
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He told Nairametrics that he is on a mission to drive the transition from petrol generators to clean energy in Nigeria.
“In just four months, we enabled 80 customers to transition from petrol generators to our Luminar units, saving customers a total of N32,000,000 yearly in petrol and maintenance costs with great climate impact as well. Our installed Luminar devices offset 4,344 Kg of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere,” Ezenwere says.
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Although he is yet to receive any support from either the federal or state government in Nigeria, his business is supported by ClimateKIC and Energia Ventures, Canada. However, he says he is open to future partnerships that Nigeria’s energy transition plan can activate.
Speaking on the future of energy innovation in Nigeria, Ezenwere told Nairametrics that he expects to see more technological innovations in decentralized energy generation and new business models providing even more affordable electricity access to Nigerians.
“This demand will trickle down to the manufacturing side incentivizing indigenous solar panel assembly and production,” he says.
Dozie is the Founder of QuadLoop, a circular economy business founded in 2016, that transforms electronic waste materials into valuable energy-centric products. His current product is called ÌDùnnú, a solar-powered lantern made from 70 percent old computer monitor screens and second-life cells like discarded laptop batteries.
He is currently working on mass producing his flagship product ÌDùnnú. At the same time, he is conducting internal tests of his solar generator product.
He told Nairametrics that his business has received support from both the federal government and Lagos State government.
QuadLoop is one of the beneficiaries of the Innovation Fellowship for Aspiring Inventors and Researchers (i-FAIR2) incubation program.
i-FAIR2 is a six-month program enabling participants to transform ideas into reality by providing technological and educational tools, platforms, guidance, and mentoring by experts from the State of Israel and Nigeria. It is a joint effort from the office of Nigeria’s vice president, Prof Yemi Osinbajo and the Israeli government in Abuja.
QuadLoop also received a workspace ticket from Lagos Innovates from the Lagos state employment trust fund (LSETF) in 2018.
According to Igweilo, in coming years, energy innovation in Nigeria would attain exponential growth, especially with the recent outpour of hardware engineers springing up in all parts of the country.
“Advanced battery technology is the future of energy storage and supply. This would bring about a new business model such as Battery-as-a-service, which allows customers to lease batteries as a separate component from an electric car, as well as second-life battery recycling & recovery,” he says.
Nurudeen is the CEO of Sirius-X Energy, a clean energy startup located in the northwest region of Nigeria. He developed a solar wind hybrid system, a system that is capable of providing reliable and affordable and uninterrupted electricity to households and businesses located in underserved and unserved areas of Nigeria.
Due to his innovation and business approach, he was awarded the third best business idea by African Fellowship for Young Energy Leaders. He was also a recipient of the most outstanding innovation by the Strategic Women and Youth Institute (SWYI) at the 2022 Nigeria International Energy Submit.
He told Nairametrics that he is currently providing lamps to students and people at the bottom of the pyramid at a very low cost of N2,500, the lamp is capable of lasting for about 12 hours.
Issa says he is yet to receive any support from the federal or state government. However, he believes that support for startups like his would receive some support going forward, especially as Nigeria has just launched its energy transition plan and signed the Nigeria startup bill.
Issa says he sees tremendous growth in Nigeria’s energy innovation space because the country will eventually catch up with the rest of the world in its energy transition journey.
“To achieve net zero, we need a balance between carbon being removed and the one emitted. We can’t achieve this without energy transition. What will accelerate energy transition is continuous innovation in the energy space to solve the climate crisis and energy poverty. This is where the world is going, and Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind,” Issa says.
Chukwuemeka Eze is the chief executive officer of Revive Earth Limited. Together with his team, he works on retrofitting kits that enable the conversion of existing gasoline vehicles to run on pure battery electricity. His innovation is an electric tricycle that costs 80.06% less to fuel and 90% less to maintain than the regular gasoline-powered tricycle.
He told Nairametrics that he is currently working on a kit that can be used to retrofit a gasoline powered Bajaj tricycle to run on pure battery electricity.
Although he is working towards creating a clean energy future for Africa, he is yet to receive any government support so far. Eze believes that the energy innovation growth in Nigeria is dependent on Nigeria’s youthful population, who know a lot about modern day technologies.
“We must choose visionary and selfless leaders, and become more involved in creating energy systems that can drive much-needed economic prosperity,” he says.
Eze says he sees an unprecedented growth rate in energy innovation in the next five years.
He says, “I see exploration of biomass energy from agricultural activities and effective waste management, as well as the exploration of solar, and wind in the development of hybrid mini-grid systems, and even better utilization of Nigeria’s vast fossil deposit in a more sustainable way.”
Chigozie Enemoh is the chief executive officer of Swift Tranzact, the makers of the solar enterprise hub, which is a 100% off-grid solar powered kiosk or cabin for small businesses. Through his start-up, Enemoh is expanding clean energy access opportunities to small businesses at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) through these solar enterprise hubs across Nigeria.
Enemoh says his innovation has touched the lives of small business entrepreneurs in remote communities who have no access to energy. For him, reaching people in these communities is more than just providing lightbulbs to them. It is mostly about ensuring that they can run successful businesses, which will help them become financially capable of solving challenges in their personal lives.
He told Nairametrics that he has received some form of support from both the federal and state government. In 2020, Enemoh enrolled his staff under a scheme called the federal government survival fund, to help businesses cushion the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. As of Q1 of 2021, six people from his team were paid N30,000 for three months.
Following the federal government intervention, the Anambra state government in partnership with the World Bank organized a business support programme for organizations in Anambra. Our organization received IT Training, a laptop, a printer and a functional website.
Enemoh predicts a significant growth rate in Nigeria’s energy innovation space in the next few years, especially as more young people take up government positions around the country. He believes that Nigeria will eventually become a productive country when it has fully tackled energy access gaps.
“The bridging of these energy access gaps will be front lined by young people who believe in Nigeria’s great future,” he says.
What you should know
In November 2005, the Nigerian government approved the Renewable Energy Master Plan, to encourage the incorporation of renewable energy sources into the nation’s energy supply mix for sustainable development.
Again, in 2021, the Nigerian government launched vision 30-30-30, which is targeted at achieving 30 gigawatts of electricity by 2030, from multiple energy sources, with at least 30% contribution from renewable energy sources.
In August 2022, the federal government launched a project steering committee for the global cleantech innovation programme (GCIP) — a programme designed to unleash the potential of clean-tech innovation and entrepreneurship, and respond to the increasing global demand for environmental sustainability and climate action.