The International Gas Union (IGU) in collaboration with the International Peace Institute (IPI) with the support of SDN and Cordaid are to look addressing the issue of energy-security and cooperation in Nigeria and providing power to local communities.
A meeting will be held to brainstorm on local flaring of natural gas and explore options for utilizing the gas to provide energy for the people of the Niger Delta, in a sustainable framework that all stakeholders in the region will subscribe to.
The IPI and IGU understand clearly that reducing gas flaring and converting gas to power will ensure a win-win situation; taking care of the environment and providing access to energy for local communities. They also understand it is essential to also look at also sustainable and renewable energy options. IGU and IPI are currently focussing on the issue of Energy and Security and this potential project in the Niger Delta will underscore the logic that access to energy utilizing already available natural gas resource will foster local socio-economic development, economic diversification, sustainable peace and security.
The overall vision behind this initiative is to ensure that the people in the Niger Delta have access to energy. Realistically local energy supply in the Niger Delta will require mainly off-grid solutions. In a transition period those solutions will draw from both fossil fuel and renewable energy. There are opportunities to transform associated gas-to- power for local supply. Long term sustainable solutions for the Niger Delta heavily rely on Renewable Energy.
There is a contradiction between the availability of abundant energy sources in the Niger Delta and the fact that these or other sources of energy are not accessible for the local population. Sources that people are currently forced to turn to, like illegal refining of oil and firewood, have negative impact on the environment and health. Moreover, the ongoing pollution through the gas flaring, oil spills, theft & illegal refining predictably create tensions in the region.
Oil spills can not be effectively prevented and addressed in an unstable environment. The availability of constant sources of energy, balancing out local demand and environmental conservation in the Niger Delta will accentuate the rapid development of the region, which eventually, will lead to peace and stability in the region, thereby creating a more conducive environment for business to flourish.
There is need for proper analysis of potential gas-to-power energy solutions both on and off grid for rural and urban communities. Furthermore, it is time to assess the potential for hybrid solar and on-grid solutions. There is a need to create space to discuss local visions and aspirations, and to facilitate the engagement of local and international experts, organizations and investors, while learning from international best practice in successfully generating and distributing power – particularly those undertaken by the international oil companies.
Several observers and experts also agree that environmental protection will be enhanced through promotion of renewable energy sources, supporting livelihood empowerment and promoting value chains away from oil. A multi-stakeholder approach in identifying new ideas and actionable solutions on the above is long over due, which is why SDN, Cordaid and ML MFA support the initiative of IGU / IPI to explore the potentials of energy for all in the Niger Delta.