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Project Summary

Nigeria has vast oil and gas reserves and abundant renewable energy potential. Yet the country is suffering an energy crisis, which has a major impact on its ability to reduce poverty and achieve the MDGs. This project has
been conceived to ensure access to modern energy services in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.


This research was financed by the European Union.


>> Download the Project Summary (pdf from IIED)

Project publications

Solar lanterns in Niger Delta communities. Experiences in building a sustainable distribution model

Stakeholder Democracy Network (2016)

The Niger Delta region fuels Nigeria's economy, accounting for 95 per cent of Nigeria's export earnings and over 80 per cent of the federal government's revenue. Yet it remains one of the poorest parts of the country. Its considerable potential for socio-economic development has been hapered by a lack of access to modern energy services, despite rich energy resources. Renewable energy has become a competitive option for improving access to energy.


The European Union-funded Sungas project aimed to develop community-based energy solutions in the Niger Delta using renewable energy sources. AS part of this project, Stakeholde Democracy Network (SDN) piloted the use of solar-powered portable lighting in four Niger Delta communities, using the 'energy delivery model' approach. It aimed to catalyse market development by demonstrating and selling small solar lanterns as a commercial and sustainable business model.


This paper reviews and evaluates the impact of SDN's solar lantern distribution model at a community level. It identifies what SDN has learnt through distributing solar lanterns in four rural and urban communities in Rivers State, Nigeria, in order to critique the approach and consider how to implement the model more effectively, as well as analysing its potential for scaling up in the region.


Download the publication at:


CMAP solar case study

Stakeholder Democracy Network (2016)

This study describes how the solar installation at the community radio project, Chicoco Radio's Media Shed in Okrika Waterfront, Port Harcourt demonstrates the viability of solar to residents of Port Harcourt's waterfront slums.

Download the publication at


This research was financed by the European Union.


Solar lanterns toolkits. Rights and practicalities guide

Stakeholder Democracy Network (2016)

This toolkit gives guidance to communties in the Niger Delta on accessing solar energy.

Download the publication at:


This research was financed by the European Union.


Staying power. Can communities sustain solar-powered water projects in the Niger Delta?

Miriam Isoun (2014)

The remote riverine communities of the Niger Delta inhabit a rich tropical rainforest ecosystem surrounded by 'water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink'. Only the deepest boreholes provide reliably clean drinking water, but power is not readily available to pump it to the surface. While solar energy presents itself as an effective solution, numerous failed solar water projects in the Delta have lent this option the reputation of being unworkable. This paper describes how the Niger Delta Wetlands Centre (NDWC) has tried to find the most effective ways to provide potable water using solar-powered systems, and to understand the challenges - both technical and socio-economic - that must be overcome for communities to sustain them.


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Renewable Energy Potential in Nigeria. Low-carbon approaches to tackling Nigeria's energy poverty

Chris Newsom (2012)

Renewable energy has considerable potential in Nigeria, and could bridge the major energy gaps in rural areas, particularly northern Nigeria. The scale of opportunities is only just becoming apparent as new grid technologies such as concentrated solar power are emerging as in competitors with conventional power generation. This report discusses the energy sector in Nigeria and recommends action for harnessing the country's renewable energy potential.

>> Download this paper (PDF from IIED)

Can renewable energy turn Nigeria's lights on?

Chris Newsom (2012)

Briefing paper based on the research paper Renewable Energy Potential in Nigeria

Download this paper (PDF from IIED)


Low-carbon energy development in Nigeria. Challenges and opportunities

Ewah Otu Eleri, Precious Onuvae, Okechukwu Ugwu (2012)

This paper provides a broad overview of the state of low-carbon development in Nigeria and its relevance to the 'acess to energy' agenda. The paper identifies key elements of climate-compatible development, enabling policies, emerging investments, local-level implementation efforts, and the role of international partnerships. It offers insights into how the low-carbon development agenda can help to promote access to energy for poor and isolated communities in Nigeria. 

Download this paper (PDF from IIED, 420KB)

Can the low-carbon development agenda increase energy access for the poor in Nigeria?

Ewah Otu Eleri, Precious Onuvae, Okechukwu Ugwu

Briefing paper based on the research paper Low-carbon energy development in Nigeria

Download this paper (PDF from IIED)


Energy use and usage perceptions in the Niger Delta

A survey carried out for the SUNGAS project

Olumide Oyebamiji and Rita Kigbara (2011), Stakeholder Democracry Network

>> Download this paper (PDF from IIED)


Overcoming Nigeria’s Energy Crisis: Towards effective utilisation of associated gas and renewable energy resources in the Niger Delta

Olise, M. and T. Nria-Dappa (2009), Social Action: Port Harcourt

>> Download this paper (pdf from Social Action)


Other useful resources


Access to Sustainable Energy: what role for international oil and gas companies?

Focus on Nigeria, IIED. Shaad, B. and E. Wilson (2009)

>> Download this paper (pdf from IIED)


Supported by the EUThis website has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of the website are the sole responsibility of the SUNGAS project partners, and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.


iied logoInternational Institute for Environment and Development

80-86 Gray's Inn Road
London WC1X 8NH, UK

iucn logoNiger Delta Wetlands Centre

PO Box 729,
Bayelsa State,

Living Earth Foundation

5 Great James Street

Stakeholder Democracy Network

Stakeholder Democracy Network (SDN)

Development House

56-64 Leonard Street



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