The United Kingdom has appointed Nigeria’s former managing director of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Damilola Ogunbiyi, as a co-chair of the UN Climate Change Conference’s (COP26) Energy Transition Council.
The UK CoP President, Alok Sharma, will chair the council alongside Mrs Ogunbiyi, a statement by the UK government said on Monday, ahead of the country’s Climate Week 2020.
At a round table on Monday, Mrs Ogunbiyi joined Mr Sharma and other political and industry leaders to discuss the clean energy co-operation for the next decade, the statement said.
In the statement, Mr Sharma said major companies would join the Race to Zero campaign, to accelerate net-zero carbon emission commitments.
This comes after the UK government announced a new £50 million investment in a new clean energy innovation facility.
This, it said, would help developing countries get easier access to innovative clean energy technologies, focusing on key sectors such as industry, cooling, smart energy and storage.
“We cannot achieve the promise of the Paris Agreement or Sustainable Development Goal 7 – access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all – without a clean energy transition that leaves no one behind.
“Today, just under 800 million people globally lack access to electricity and we must close these gaps with renewable, efficient and affordable solutions,” Mrs Ogunbiyi was also quoted as saying.
Mrs Ogunbiyi, who is also the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All, came into limelight last year when the Minister of Power, Sale Mamman, suspended her alongside the CEO of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET), Marilyn Amobi, over allegations of infractions.
In the build-up to her UN appointment, President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the reversal of her suspension to allow her resign from the government post and pursue her new global role.
Mrs Ogunbiyi previously worked as the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Power and Head of the Advisory Power Team (APT) in the Office of the Vice President where she was responsible for the Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP), a series of policy actions, operational, governance and financial interventions to be implemented by the Federal Government of Nigeria over a five-year period (2017-2021).
Before joining the federal government, she was the first female General Manager of the Lagos State Electricity Board.
Under her leadership, five independent power projects were completed to deliver over 55 megawatts of power to Lagos State hospitals, schools, streetlights and the Government secretariat, her UN profile read.
In renewable energy, she completed a 5MW decentralized solar project for 213 schools and clinics in Lagos and also created the Lagos State Energy Academy to build the capacity of young people in renewable energy technology.
Meanwhile, prior to her new appointment, she was a consultant for the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DfID) on public-private partnerships and had held various leadership positions in organisations focused on expanding energy access in sub-Saharan Africa.
Earlier in June, the United States International Development Finance Corporation Board of Directors named her among the first members of the agency’s inaugural Development Advisory Council.
In addition, Mrs Ogunbiyi is one of the Commissioners for the Global Commission to End Energy Poverty, an initiative driven by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and The Rockefeller Foundation.