By Emmanuel Marculay
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has identified indigenous innovations using clean energy technology that solves real problems, and are cost-effective as tool to help break the cycle of Nigeria’s dependence on fossil fuel and hasten its transition to clean energy.
The Envoy’s comment is coming on the heels of global search for the use of greener energy against the traditional fossil fuel otherwise known as dirty fuel.
The Envoy has called on the federal government to look inward and explore its inward intelligence in the energy transition program.
Laing stated this during her visit to Metro Africa Xpress (MAX), a technology-enabled company driven by a vision to solve the mobility challenges in Africa using clean energy.
The company recently began the assembly of two and three-wheeler Electric Vehicles (EVs) for use by their drivers and plans to deploy 24,000 EVs across its markets in the next three years.
At the company’s office, Laing witnessed the demonstration of MAXe, a motorbike retrofitted from an internal combustion engine to an all-electric engine.
She said, “Nigeria is an oil and gas exporter and will continue to be reliant on the oil and gas for its revenue for some time. Nigeria needs to start now to manage its own transition to be less dependent on fossil fuels.
“And I think what breaks this cycle is people coming up with solutions and showing that it can actually be more cost-effective to move from gas to battery run vehicles. These are the kind of people who pioneer the change. The government will come on board when they see demonstration projects such as this one that they can scale up.
“It won’t happen overnight, but I think these are the kinds of innovations that will enable that transition to happen.”
The British High Commissioner however remarked that Nigeria’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) has been commended as being “one of the best”. NDCs are a fallout of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. NDCs embody efforts by each country to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Thus, she said, “I think the government actually is fully on board. What has been lacking are these technical practical solutions.”
The British High Commissioner said the Nigerian government can work with people like the young team at MAX to come up with practical ways of managing the transition.
Responding, co-founder of MAX, Tayo Bamiduro, said the challenges of clean energy mobility such as Nigeria’s epileptic power supply and financing are real.
However, he affirm that those challenges are very solvable with persistence and focus.
Manufacturing Africa, a programme supported by the UK government that seeks to promote industrialisation in East and West Africa by attracting £1 billion in foreign direct investment and create 90,000 jobs by 2026, is supporting MAX’s EV ambitions by helping it raise the funds for the assembly of EVs.