Renewable energy deals with power generation from hydro and gas-fired thermal power plants. There are various renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, biomass, and hydropower, etc. They are used as an alternative to the most commonly used sources of energy such as coal. Renewable energy offers improved environmental and health quality as it does not pose health risks. There are laws enacted to regulate renewable energy in Nigeria, which will be discussed below.
The few laws briefly discussed below provide a legal framework for renewable energy in Nigeria.
- Electricity Power Sector Reform (EPSRA) Act 2005- the Act is the principal law that governs the Nigeria power sector. The Act is established to provide for the formation of companies to take over the function, assets and liabilities, and staff of the National Electric Power Authority and to develop a competitive electricity market.
The Act establishes the NERC as the major regulatory body to provide for the licensing and regulation of the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in the power sector. Section 96 of the Act empowers NERC to make regulations which in the option of the Commission are necessary or convenient to be prescribed for carrying out or giving effect to the Act. NERC in performing this function has established several policies and regulations to regulate the energy sector. Examples of these regulations are;
- NERC Mini-Grid Regulation 2016- the regulation applies to all mini-grids with a generation capacity of up to 1MW, the owners, operators, and users of the mini-grids as well as other private or public stakeholders. Mini-grid means electricity supply system with its power generation capacity, supply electricity to more than one customer which can operate in isolation from or be connected to a distribution licensee's network. While a mini-grid developer is an entity established which has applied for the registration or a permit to operate an isolated mini-grid or which is preparing a tripartite contract for an interconnected mini-grid.
- NERC Renewable Energy Feed-In Tariff Regulations 2015- NERC has also established a feed-in tariff for renewable energy-based power generation which is aimed at promoting the investment of renewable energy in Nigeria. The tariff estimates that Nigeria will generate at least 1000MW from renewable energy.
- National Electric Power Policy 2001- the policy lays out the framework for the reform and liberalization of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI). The goal of the policy is to ensure that the electricity supply industry meets the electricity demand efficiently and economically in Nigeria.
- Renewable Electricity Policy Guidelines 2006- this policy was issued by the Federal Ministry of Power for the provision of adequate and reliable power supply in Nigeria. The policy is aimed at influencing the generation, transmission, and distribution projects in the power sector, provide direction, and also facilitating the emergence of a private sector towards a competitive and efficient electric power industry.
- National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy 2015- the NREEEP is a policy document approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC). The purpose of the policy is to set out a framework for action to address Nigerians challenge pf inclusive assess to modern and clean energy resources, improved energy security and climate objective, also to recognise the significance of renewable electricity generation activities by providing for the development, operation and maintenance, and upgrading of new and existing renewable electricity generation activities.
- Environmental Impact Assessment Act Cap E2, LFN 2004- the Act makes it mandatory for environmental impact assessment to be conducted for projects likely to have significant effects on the environment, which also includes power projects. a power developer who intends to carry out power generation operations through the use of renewable energy must register the project with the Federal Ministry of Environment for an environmental impact assessment as Section 2 of the Act provides for the assessment of public or private projects likely to have a significant impact on the environment.
- Nigerian electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) Act- the NEMSA Act is responsible for the enforcement of technical electrical standards and regulations as prescribed by NERC, including technical inspection, the testing, and certification of electrical installations, electricity meters, and instruments to ensure the efficient production and delivery of safe, reliable and sustainable electric power supply and the guarantee of the safety of lives and property in the Nigerian electricity supply industry. The Act establishes the National electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) as the agency to carry out these functions.
Government Regulatory Agencies in Charge Renewable Energy
The regulatory agencies charged with the responsibility of regulating the renewable energy sector of the Nigerian economy are as follows;
- Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) - NERC is primarily responsible for granting and issuing licenses and approvals for the electric value chain from generation, distribution, transmission, trading, system operations, metering, etc.
- Transmission Company of Nigeria- the TCN performs three major functions the market operator, system operator, and transmission service provider. TCN manages the electricity transmission network in Nigeria. It is one of the bodies established to issue licenses for the transmission of electricity. it is also responsible for the evacuation of electricity generated by the electricity generating companies and taking it to the distribution companies,
- Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trader- NBET is the sole holder of a bulk purchase and resale license in Nigeria. It enters into bulk Power Purchase Agreements (PPA) with power generation companies and independent power producers for the bulk purchase of electric power and services which is in turn resold to the Discos (distribution companies) in Nigeria under a vesting contract.
- Standards Organisation of Nigeria- in support of the advancement of renewable energy, the SON in collaboration with the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP). The SON is charged with the responsibility of setting the standards of all products and equipment in or imported into Nigeria. Concerning energy, the SON ensures that all electrical and electronic products in or imported into Nigeria conform to the quality and standards as set by the Organisation.
- Nigerian Electricity Management Services (NEMSA)- this regulatory agency is responsible for enforcing the technical standards in the power sector in collaboration with the SON to ensure that all electrical materials conform with the required standard and quality and also conduct an inspection of all electricity projects in Nigeria.
- Federal Ministry of Environment- this is the principal authority regulating environmental matters in Nigeria. The Ministry is in charge of EIA for projects in Nigeria which include renewable energy projects and also issuing EIA certificates for approved projects.
- National Environmental Standards And Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA)- this regulatory agency is responsible for the protection and development of the environment, biodiversity conservation and sustainable development of Nigeria's natural resources, and also for environmental technology. The agency also issues permits to companies involved in new or used electrical electronic equipment manufacturing, processing, recycling, power generation, transmission, or distribution.
As earlier stated renewable energy is the energy obtained from energy sources such as wind, biomass, small and medium hydroelectricity, wave energy, etc that has a minimal environmental impact. The EPSR Act is the principal legislation that provides the legal framework for the energy sector. The NERC is the major or primary regulatory agency overseeing renewable energy in Nigeria.
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