The European Union (EU) and the German Government, within the framework of the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP) have provided technical support to the Federal Ministry of Environment to develop Environmental and Social Management Plan Guidelines (ESMP Guidelines) for solar mini-grid projects in Nigeria.
The ESMP Guideline for solar mini-grid is aimed at supporting the establishment of an enabling framework for private investment in solar minigrids, which will play a key role in ensuring universal access to electricity in Nigeria, especially in rural and peri-urban areas.
The ESMP Guideline one-day Public Hearing Tuesday in Abuja was with the aim to ensure that Proponents are aware of the steps to be taken for preparing Environmental and Social Management Plans, rather than partial or full-blown Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) for their Solar Mini-Grid projects, thereby optimising the timeline and reducing the cost of development.
Aside giving full awareness to Stakeholders and Proponents on the ESMP Guidelines, the Public Hearing was also organised to collate last comments and feedback before its final approval.
Representing the Director of Environment Assessment Department of the Federal Ministry of Environment At the ESMP Guidelines Public Hearing event, Engr. Gomwalk, Celestine said it is beneficial for Nigeria to develop the ESMP Guidelines for solar mini-grid projects in the country.
“In the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Procedural Guidelines of 2017 solar energy projects is not one of the Mandatory Study Activities being a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), however the scope of deployment being major developments and frequency deems that these projects are subjected to the EIA Process. Hence, the ESMP Guidelines for Solar Mini-Grid Projects in Nigeria was developed as an abridged form of the EIA Procedures Guidelines with the aim to aid Proponents adapt a simplified method of preparing ESMPs for proposed solar mini-grid projects. The simplified method is also to optimize the mini-grid projects EIA timeline and the cost of development”, he said
Also speaking, the Head of Section of Economic Cooperation and Energy at the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Inga Stefanowicz, said the simplified ESMP Guidelines would boost private investment in the renewable energy sector in the country. She said “It will also improve the standard of living of the people by increasing access to electricity especially for those in the rural and semi-urban areas of Nigeria. This aligns with some of the EU’s objectives of supporting more eco-friendly sources of energy and improving the standard of living of the people especially those in disadvantaged areas of the country”.
The ESMP Guidelines provide a detailed step by step guide to preparing ESMPs. It ensures that Proponents are aware of these steps and will experience more seamless method of preparing their ESMPs thus, the Public Hearing on the ESMP Guidelines was held to
The Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP) which is a technical assistance programme, co-funded by the European Union and the German Government and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Power (FMP) has as Its major aim among other things, to foster investments for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency and to improve access to electricity for disadvantaged, rural communities.