Nigerian Journal of Management Technology & Development Impediments to Financing of Renewable Energy Projects in Nigeria

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Nigerian Journal of Management Technology & Development ISSN: 2006-1676

Volume 8, Number 1

June, 2017

Impediments to Financing of Renewable Energy Projects in Nigeria 1Ahmed

A. & 2Shittu, O. I. Department of Accounting and Finance Technology Faculty of Management Technology, ATBU, Bauchi. GSM: +2348036027370, +2348077223399 1 Email: [email protected], [email protected]

Abstract

As an energy deficient nation, Nigeria needs to commit huge quantum of resources towards developing its energy resources. Blessed with a variety of energy resources, Nigeria’s energy poverty is supposed to be history by now since the country could exploit it abundant fossilised and renewable energy resources to meet its rapidly expanding energy needs. Investment in renewable energy projects globally rose from 22 billion dollars in 2002to 155 billion dollars in 2008. Development of utility scale renewable energy projects in a developing country like Nigeria faces lots of challenges. Some of the challenges considered in the paper include high economic costs, institutional and policy factors and technical constraints. About 300 respondents made up of energy investors, bankers, top government officials, scholars and energy industry regulators were served with structured questionnaires. Data were subjected to analysis using multiple regressions analysis. The findings show significant deterrent impact of the IVs on the DV (RE project financing). Major recommendations include the need for a coherent policy on investment promotion in renewable energy resources, development of the financial services sector of the economy among others. Keywords: Renewable energy financing; Financial markets; Energy demand; Institutional weakness; Political and economic risks. 1.0 Introduction Investment in renewable energy (RE) has assumed a centre stage in global energy investment (Chatam House, 2011) driven largely by concerns for energy security and environmental sustainability (Brunnschweiler, 2006). From an investment of about 22billion dollars in 2002, RE investment rose to about 155 billion dollars by 2008. By 2011 investment in RE projects in developing countries alone reached

about 89 billion dollars (Brown et al, 2012). Globally investment in RE projects reached about 214 billion dollars in 2013 (Agbongiarhuoyi, 2015). Despite this level of investment, RE accounts for only a small proportion of the global energy supply, supplying about 20% to 22% of total World energy supply (Wohlgemuth and Painuly, 1999; Agbongiarhuoyi, 2015).

Figure 1: Global New Investment in RE: Developed and Developing Countries2004-2011(USD Billion). Source: Trend in RE Investment 2012(UNEP, BNEF and FS, 2012)

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Developing countries (Nigeria inclusive) suffer huge energy poverty which has greatly constrained their development process. RE projects will therefore help to address the issue of climate change, increase energy supply and access to energy, promote sustainable development and economic growth among others (Brown, et al, 2012). With abundant RE resources such as biomass, strong winds, abundant solar potentials, hydro and geothermal resources, Nigeria is hugely endowed with RE resources that could potentially provide significant proportion of the country’s expanding energy needs. Thus investment in Nigeria’s RE resources could help towards meeting the country’s energy needs and fast track the development process of the nation. However investmentin utility scale RE projects in developing countries has still remained low for many reasons. RE projects require huge quantum of financial resources relative to the expected returns, and lengthy payback period (Sonntag-O'Brien and Usher, 2004; UNEP FI, 2004). Mobilising the requisite financial resources for financing utility scale RE projects istherefore a daunting task especially when looked at against the quantum of investment needed and thelow returns on investment that usually characterise RE projects (World Bank, 1999; IEA, 2003). Very few commercial RE projects have so far been undertaken in Nigeria. Most of them are still at their EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) stages and are not operational up till now. In Nigeria some of the utility scale private sector RE projects include the 2,600 MW hydro plants in Mambilla (Mambilla project is still at the engineering drawing stage), the700 MW hydro plants in Zungeru, 300 MW expansion of the hydro plant in Gurara among others. Certain impediments stand in the way of financing of commercial utility scale RE projects which limit the development of the RE potentials and markets in developing countries (World Bank, 1999). The paper is therefore designed to assess some of the major forces that impede ©JOMATECH

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the financing of utility scale commercial RE projects in Nigeria. 1.1 Objectives The major objective of the paper is to examine some of the factors that impede the financing of RE projects in Nigeria. Other specific objectives include 1. To assess the influence of high economiccosts on the financing of RE projects in Nigeria 2. To examine the impact of institutional and policy factors on the financing of RE projects in Nigeria. 3. To determine the influence of technical constraints on the financing of RE projects in Nigeria. 1.2 Hypotheses 1. Ho1: The financing of RE projects in Nigeria is not constrained by high economic costs 2. Ho2: The financing of RE projects in Nigeria is not constrained by institutional constraints 3. Ho3: The financing of RE projects in Nigeria is not constrained by technical constraints 2.0 Literature Review and Conceptual Framework 2.1 Conceptual Issues in RE Projects RE projects refer to commercial energy generating projects that are based on nondepleting, inexhaustible or renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, biomass, hydro, geothermal and related resources. RE energy project financing refers to the off balance sheet financing of RE projects usually promoted through the creation of special purpose vehicles (SPV). It is the usual way through which private sector finances utility scale infrastructure projects.Nigeria’s attempt to utilise its vast RE resources is largely driven by the desire to reduce the disturbing energy supply deficit in the country especially electricity. It is to diversify the energy fuelmix of the country in a way that will enhance its energy security and sustain the environment.

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2.1.1 Drivers of RE Projects The growing importance of RE resources in the energy mix is driven by many considerations among which are the concerns for environmental sustainability. This is largely informed by the quests to reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions which cause climate change related to energy production. As countries commit to reducing their carbon emissions, they develop robust CO2 emission reduction policy hinged on RE development (International Energy Agency, 1997). Other drivers driving the promotion of RE projects have to do with the objective of energy security by diversifying the energy fuels sources of a nation, and by reducing the energy dependence of a nation through developing its local energy resources. It is also driven by the desire to expand energy supply in order to reinforce the growth and development potentials of a nationespecially developing nations whose energy consumption is expected to increase significantly in the next 30 years (International Energy Agency, 1999; Brunnschweiler, 2006; Brown, et al, 2012; Rambo, 2013). The development of the RE resources will help towards meeting the increasing energy needs of the developing countries in particular andthe world in general.Generating energy from RE resources is also driven by the desire to supply electricity to remote, dispersed and rural communities based on the concept of embedded generation through solar or wind resources. Supplying such communities through on grid system will be prohibitively expensive. The policy is also driven by other considerations such as the creation of employment opportunities through the creation of an RE industry, creating exports opportunity for local resources and reducing urbanization through provision of electricity to the rural areas (Winkler, 2005; Weiss, 2011; UNEP, 2012; Rambo, 2013). By far the biggest driver for the promotion of RE projects is the plummeting costs of renewable energy technologies (RETs). Costs of RETS have been on the decline in the last three or so ©JOMATECH

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decades and this has helped in developing interests in RE resources and RE projects. 2.1.2 Characteristics of RE Projects RE projects have peculiar characteristics which set them apart from conventional energy projects in terms of their financing needs, risks and returns characteristics among others. Firstly RE projects have high projects and investment costs. The projects normally have high upfront costs and low operational costs requiring huge quantum of economic resources to finance. These make them extremely sensitive to the conditions of capital costs financing (World Bank/KfW, 2005). Another peculiarity of RE projects have to do with the lack of sufficient data about some important components of the projects such as fuels supply at specific sites which makes careful project analysis difficult. Because of their time horizon, RE projects have long exposure period to risks than conventional energy projects. Due to these peculiarities RE projects financing requires cash flow adequate terms which enable the projects to secure funds with long to extra long maturities terms and the lowest possible interest rate in the market (World Bank /Kfw, 2005) Developing the RE potentials however requires huge quantum of resources. Raising such resources is a daunting task. Promoters of RE projects face a myriad of challenges raising funds for RE project funding. 2.2 Impediments to Financing RE Projects RE projects financing in Nigeria as in many developing countries is faced with many challenges. Promoters of RE projects in Nigeria face uphill task in mobilising the requisite financial resources. These challenges or barriers are broadly classified into economic challenges, institutional challenges and technical challenges. 2.2.1 Economic Costs Economic challenges in the financing of RE projects manifest in many ways. Chiefly RE projects suffer costs disadvantage in relation to conventional energy projects. The costs

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disadvantages which RE projects suffer has been attributed to the failure of stakeholders (investors and government ) to properly account for social and environmental costs that are associated with conventional energy projects resulting in faulty or misleading economics. The failure to account for these costs gives conventional energy projects cost competitiveness (World Energy Council, 1998; Henderson, 2007; Brown et al, 2012). This accounting failure is also seen as a form of subsidy the conventional energy projects enjoy as tax payers pay for the social and environmental costs associated with the

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destructive nature of such projects which manifest in the future. As a result, RE projects have costs disadvantages which make them less attractive to investors and financiers. Additionally substantial subsidies that governments give to conventional energy projects further lessen the commercial prospect of RE projects and the ability of such projects to raise funds easily (International Energy Agency, 1997; Brown et al, 2012). Consequently RE projects have low returns on capital which further lessens their attractiveness to investors (Apt, Keith and Morgan, 2007).

Figure 2: Comparative Costs of UK Electricity Generation. Mott Macdonald, 2010

Another economic barrier has to do with the willingness to pay for green energy by consumers of electricity in Nigeria. It is not certain if energy consumers are willing to pay a premium tariff for green electricity produced from RE projects which may be costlier than energy from fossilised projects. Some of the studies such as Musliu, et al, (2013) conducted on consumers’ willingness to pay appear to be on electricity from conventional sources. Generally consumers of electricity in Nigeria view any upward tariff review from negative perspective and vehemently resist such moves through popular protests etc (Ahmed, 2014). ©JOMATECH

Coupled with the prevailing economic difficulties being experienced in the country with many workers unable to get their salaries in time (remember the minimum wage is less than 90 dollars) one may not hastily conclude that consumers will accept to pay a premium for green electricity. Raising finance for RE projects is challenging also due to the lack of commercially attractive and easily executable RE projects in Nigeria and other developing countries. This lack of sufficient deal flow negatively affects the popularity of RE projects in the eyes of investors, financiers and other stakeholders (Brown et al, 2012). It has also

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suppressed the growth of RE market leading to the absence of local supply chains in the country that could easily provide the needed supports for RE projects in the areas of local production of RE components and other value addition. The lack of experience and familiarity with RE projects among stakeholders especially policy makers, financiers, bankers add to the difficulties that RE projects suffer in Nigeria as in many developing countries. Consequently promoters of RE projects face difficulties raising funds due to the high risk perception about the project that financiers and other stakeholders have. This often leads to the demand for higher borrowing costs than faced by other projects (Wohlgemuth & Painuly, 2000; Brown et al., 2012). Reluctance of financial institutions and other investors to finance RE projects may also be attributed to lack of understanding of RE project investments. Another economic variable hindering successful financing of RE projects has to do with lack of long term finance. RE projects are characterised by high upfront or initial costs and low operational costs due to the nature of the RE technology. This means that promoters of RE projects need long term funds to develop the project. Raising long term funds is a daunting task even through equity investment. The recent crashes of the stock market burnt investors fingers and scare many investors away from the capital market. Coupled with the absence of venture capital and very low debt profile of the market it means raising long term funds for RE project is a herculean task. The performance of the financial market in terms of mobilising the needed funds for RE projects is also affected greatly by instability resulting from internal conflicts and insurgent activities (Pegels, 2009; UN-Energy/ Africa, 2011). Nigeria experiences insurgent activity in the form of Boko Haram insurgent activity in its North east region, an area with abundant RE potentials. Currency risk is another concern for foreign investors investing in RE and other infrastructure projects in developing countries (UN-Energy/ Africa, 2009). The recent erosion in the value of the Naira against major currencies of the world portends ©JOMATECH

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serious challenges for RE project financing. The current deterioration of the exchange rate against the Naira increases the costs of such projects. It also increases the possible tariff that could be charged from such projects especially if it is largely funded through external financing. The 2008 financial and economic crises and the current recessionary experience of the world economy mean that there will be less flow of finances to infrastructure projects. RE projects like most infrastructure projects in developing countries also suffered from 2008 global financial crisis due to the serious credit crunch experienced during and in the after math of the crisis. 2.2.2 Institutional Weaknesses The infrastructure market of the developing countries is characterised by weak regulatory and institutional arrangements (Estache, 2005; Brunnscheiler, 2006; Brown et al., 2012). These breed unfavourable regulatory and political climates (WEF, 2011) which translate into lack of sufficient supportive investment policy regimes. The absence of credible and consistent policy regime for RE investments is a major barrier to RE project investment in most developing countries, Nigeria inclusive. RE projects lack favourable environment and policy because of a number of reasons which may include competing priority, vested interests, market distortion, subsidies in fossil fuel projects or lack of clear RE authority (Brown, et al, 2012). Weak institutions and regulatory structure of most developing countries make it difficult for RE projects to attract financing as the markets do not create equal market opportunities for all energy resource types (Brunnscheiler, 2006). Successful institutions building through sector wide power reform could help ameliorate this challenge. In the United States various RE investment supportive policies such as Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), Public Benefits Fund for Renewable Energy (PBFRE), Output Based Environmental Regulations, Feed in Tariffs and other financial incentives have been developed to promote investment in RE projects. The Renewable Obligation policy was

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introduced in the UK 2002 to compel distribution companies to procure a certain percentage of their power through renewable resources (Agbongiarhuoyi, 2015). This however is not to indicate complete absence of government policy on promoting RE projects in Nigeria. Such policies asLight up Rural Nigeria, feed-in tariffs, the National Renewable Energy andEnergy Efficiency Policyhave been created in Nigeria. However their impacts have not been felt in the industry. The absence or poor implementation of such supporting policies creates what is known as low-carbon policy risks which relates to the credibility and reliability of public policies, regulations and incentives and how effectively they are implemented by the relevant government departments and agencies(Helm and Hepburn, 2003; UN–Energy /Africa, 2011; Rambo, 2013). Low carbon policy risks have been reported in such countries as Argentina, South Africa, Senegal and Egypt (Gerardin, 2003; Pegels, 2009; Diop, 2009). Low carbon policy risk is attributed to political instability, lack of supportive policy for renewable energy projects and limited enforcement of renewable energy investment regulations (UNEP, 2012).

High Economic Costs Institutional weaknesses Technical constraints

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2.2.3 Technical Contraints Various technical factors also affect RE projects financing in developing countries. Most of developing countries have major infrastructure shortage that potentially impact negatively on energy projects. Poor or inadequate transmission and distributions infrastructure in most developing countries hinder additional generation capacity that could materialise through new RE projects. There is alsogeneral lack of human capital endowments sufficiently skilled on RE projects. In fact sufficient knowledge and capacity on RE projects is lacking among the project stakeholders in many developing countries (Brown et al, 2012). 2.3 Conceptual Framework The conceptual framework looks into the variables considered in the study. The independent variables of the study are the constraints that impede the financing of RE projects in Nigeria, that is, economic factors, institutional factors and technical constraints which are seen as impediments to the dependent variable (financing of RE projects). These are coined from the study of Wohlgemuth and Painuly (1999); Brunnscheiler (2006); Henderson (2007); Apt, Keith and Morgan (2007); Diop (2009); Brown et al., (2012) among others.

Financing of Renewable Energy Projects

Figure 3: Research Framework

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3.0 Methodology The research adopts a survey research design with the use of convenience sampling method to distribute 300 research questionnaires out of which 217 were filled and returned for analysis. The research instruments were subjected to reliability and validity test as well as factor analysis to ensure a reliability and validity of the measuring instrument and the result. Reliability test for all the constructs were conducted using the Cronbach’s alpha while the validity tests were conducted using factor analysis and correlation coefficient of the constructs. As revealed in Table 1, the entire constructs are reliable as they all have Cronbach’s alpha values of 0.7 as Table 1: Items

Reliability test

Table 2:

Factor loadings

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recommended by Hair et al, (2010) Tabbacnic and Fiddel, (2007), Pallant, (2011) among others. The factor analysis result shows that the correlation matrix for all the constructs is between 0.417 and 0.645. KMO and Bartlett’s Test of Sphericity are all greater than 0.684 and significant respectively, the Anti-image matrices are between 0.650a and 0.834a, all the communalities are above 0.5 and the factor loadings are above 0.5 as shown in Table 2. Construct validity was also conducted using correlation coefficient (as revealed in Table 3) and the result shows that all the construct within the model have maximum correlation coefficient of 0.671 which is within the acceptable limit of 0.7 (Pallant, 2011).

Variables Number of Items Cronbach’s Alpha High Economic Cost 3 0.783 Institutional Factors 3 0.721 Technical Constraints 3 0.709 Sources: Extracted from IBM SPSS V. 20 Output, 2016.

Items HEC1 HEC2 HEC3 IF1 IF2 IF3 TC1 TC2 TC3 FREP1 FREP2 FREP3

EF .854 .870 .786

IF

Loadings TC FREP

.777 .826 .801 .759 .812 .815

EF: High Economic Costs TB: Technical Constraint

.840 .778 .838

IB: Institutional Factors FREP: Financing Renewable Energy Projects

Source: Extracted from IBM SPSS V. 20 Output, 2016.

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Table 3: Variables FREP HEC IF TC

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Pearson correlations between independent and dependent variables FREP EF IF TC 1.000 -.592** 1.000 .000 -.379** .645** 1.000 .000 .000 -.489** .671** .598** 1.000 .000 .000 .000

HEC: High Economic Costs TF: Technical Constrain

IC: Institutional Factors FREP: Financing Renewable Energy Projects

**Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)

Source: Extracted from IBM SPSS V. 20 Output, 2015. 4.0 Data Analysis Multiple regression analysis was conducted to assess the combined influence of the three constructs on the DV (FREP). Prior to the conduct of the analysis the data were subjected to reliability and validity analyses and other descriptive analyses in order to ensure the reliability and validity of the results, correct errors and ensure data normality which is a prerequisite for the conduct of multiple regression analysis as reported in table 4. From the table the co linearity statistics shows that the data tolerance value is within the tolerable level of less than1 and the variance inflationfactor (VIF) is also within the acceptable region being less than 10. The model summary shows an R value of .606 and an R2 value of .367. This shows that the model influence on the DV (FREP) is 37%.

In other words the model explains about 37% variance in the DV. The influence of the model is also significant, meaning that the influence of the model is not by mere chance. The regression equation will therefore be expressed as Y= bo+ B1X1+B2X2 +B3X3- - - - +Bn Xn + e (1) Where Y is the dependent variable FREP, bo is the intercept, X1, X2, X3 are the coefficients of the independent variable of the study. Thus the regression of the model is Y (FREP) = 4.414-4.77-.050-.170+e (2)

Table 4: Result of the multiple regression analysis of the model Model Summary Unstd. Std. Collinearity Coefficients Coefficients Statistics B Std. Error β t Sig. Tolerance VIF (Constant) 4.414 .252 17.532 .000 High Economic Costs -.477 .076 -.508 -6.303 .000 .457 2.186 Institutional Factors -.050 .071 -.057 -0.763 .046 .534 1.872 Technical Constraints -.170 .072 -.180 -2.344 .020 .503 1.987 R .606a R² .367 Adj. R² .358 Sig. .000 F-Value 41.163 Source: Extracted from IBM SPSS V. 20 Output, 2015. ©JOMATECH

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4.1 Test of Hypotheses Hypothesis: 1 To test the hypotheses we need to restate the hypotheses and state the decision rule The hypothesis isrestated below Ho: The financing of renewable energy projects in Nigeria is not constrainedby high economic costs H1: The financing of renewable energy projects in Nigeria is constrained by high economic costs Decision rule: Reject Ho if P < 0.05 Accept Ho if P > 0.05 Going by the decision rule and the data in table 4 the null hypothesis which states thatthe financing of renewable energy projects is not constrained by high economic costsis rejected and the alternate hypothesis which states that: the financing of renewable energy projects are constrained by high economic costsis hereby accepted. Hypothesis 2 To test the hypotheses we need to restate the hypotheses and state the decision rule The hypothesis is restated below Ho2: Institutional weaknesses do not impact on the financing of RE projects in Nigeria H1: Institutional issues impacton the financing of RE projects in Nigeria Decision rule: Reject Ho if P < 0.05 Accept Ho if P > 0.05 Going by the decision rule and the data in table 4, the null hypothesis which states that Institutional issues do not impact on the financing of RE projects in Nigeria is rejected and the alternate hypothesis which states that: Institutional issues impact on the financing of RE projects in Nigeria is accepted. Testing of Hypothesis 3 Ho3: Technical constraints do not influence the financing of RE projects in Nigeria To test the hypotheses we need to restate the hypotheses and state the decision rule ©JOMATECH

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The hypothesis is stated below Ho: Technical constraints do not influence the financing of RE projects in Nigeria H1: Technical constraints influence the financing of RE projects in Nigeria 5.0 Conclusion The study assesses the impact of the three variables onimpeding the financing of RE projects in Nigeria. The study shows the significant deterrent influence of the IVs (high economic costs, institutional factors and technical constraints) onthe dependent variable Financing of Renewable Energy Projects (FREP). Thus the financing of utility scale renewable projects is constrained by the influence of the independent variables of the model. It means that though Nigeria has abundant RE resources and has urgent needs to promote the security of its energy supply in order to reduce the energy supply deficits, the financing of RE project has been slow due to the influence of the variables shown in the model. 6.0 Recommendations Based on the findings of the study the following recommendations were made 1. There is need for a clear understanding of the nature of the RE projects such that proper analysis by the stakeholders could be made about such projects. 2. Additionally there is need for proper accounting of social and environmental costs of conventional energy projects in order to account fully the costs of such projects and reduce the current cost disadvantage that RE projects now suffer in relation to fossilised energy projects. 3. Government needs to enhance its supports to RE projects including fiscal supports in order to entice the private sector to increase financing of RE projects. 4. There is need for the strengthening of the financial market to enable it meet the financing needs of Renewable Energy

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5.

6.

7.

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Projects promoters and other stakeholders in the industry Government should enhance a strong institutional and regulatory framework that will enhance the confidence of investors investing in RE projects. Technical capability will need to be enhanced in order to develop the requiredhuman capacity to meet the technical needs of RE projects. Development of the transmission, distribution and related infrastructure is key to the development of RE projects.

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