On Thursday, July 11, 2019, TechCabal hosted its second town hall of 2019. TC Townhall: Renewable Energy brought together the leading stakeholders in Africa’s renewable energy sector.
Held at the Zone Tech Park in Gbagada, Lagos, the town hall served as an important forum to discuss the importance of renewable energy to Africa, citing it as an important alternative not just for earth-heating fossil fuel, but also for improving access to electricity. The event also highlighted the challenges that exist in the renewable energy market and how they should be addressed.
The event kicked off at 9:30, with the MC, Chidi Uguru, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Big Cabal Media, leading proceedings. She provided the context and helped acquaint the guests with the key issues.
Following Chidi was the lightning round, with three speakers taking the stage one after the other to provide understanding about different issues in the off-grid energy sector.
Daniel Adeoye, Investment Manager at Verod Capital, was the first speaker. His talk centred on the financial side of providing renewable energy for homes and what financing options are available for homeowners and businesses.
Next, Adebola Sanni, Business Development Lead at Swifta Systems, took to the stage to share insights on how technology supports the renewable market and how it helps people use electricity more efficiently.
Femi Adeyemo, the Chief Executive Officer at Arnergy, was the third speaker for the lightning round. He spoke about the economic potential of the off-grid power market and to what extent it can accelerate the Nigerian economy.
Segun Adaju, President, Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN), delivered the keynote address.
“The power of the sun is concentrated in the part of the earth [Africa] that is deficient in electricity,” Mr Adaju said. His speech provided a holistic picture of the renewable energy market in Africa and how off-grid energy companies are innovating their way to success.
“A life without generator sound; is it possible?” Chidi asked.
“The dream is already here,” Mr Adaju replied, making references to companies that have raised funds and others that have reached a greater number of customers.
Afterwards, a four-person panel took the stage to discuss “how do we build the energy infrastructure of the future with renewables”? The panelists included: Ifunanya Nwandu-Dozie, Component Head of the Rural Electrification Agency; Ujunwa Ojemeni, Senior Investment Associate All On Energy; and Segun Adaju, President, Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN) and CEO of Consistent Energy. Olaedo Osoka, CEO Daystar Power Ghana moderated the session.
One interesting focus of the panel was on electricity management and its efficient use.
“Nigerians are used to wasting energy,” said Mr Adaju.
Ms Ojemeni said: “I think we need to promote understanding about energy management in Nigerian households.”
Another notable highlight from the discussion was on access to local currency financing for domestic energy companies. “Financing is on the rise in the off-grid sector”, said Ms Ojemeni.
“But local currency financing is one issue that should be focused on to protect local operators from forex issues”, she added.
Following the panel discussion was the enlightening Campfire Session with three amazing speakers sharing insights. To begin the session, the audience was split into three groups; with each group focused on one aspect of the off-grid industry. Uvie Ugono, CEO of Solynta Energy led one group which focused on solar home systems; Femi Oye, CEO of Green Energy and Biofuels, led another group focused on biofuels; and Faisal Hameed, Senior Associate, Mini-grid Development at Clean Technology Hub, led the third group which focused on mini-grids.
After the session, all three speakers provided a round-up of what their respective groups discussed.
The event officially came to an end with the closing remarks and vote of thanks by Tomiwa Aladekomo, CEO of Big Cabal Media. The TC Town Hall audience had a great time, that was evident from the enthusiasm showed during the Campfire session and the questions they asked the panelists.