NIGERIAN clean energy expert Damilola Ogunbiyi has been named as the co-chair of the UN Climate Change Conference’s (COP26) Energy Transition Council ahead of Climate Week 2020 due to kick off in the UK.
Ms Ogunbiyi is currently the United Nation’s (UN) special representative for sustainable energy for all and the co-chair of the agency United Nations Energy For All. With this conference coming up in the Britain, she has been asked to chair it alongside Alok Sharma, the president of the UK’s COP 26.
Prior to her appointment by the UN secretary-general, António Guterres, in October 2019, Ms Ogunbiyi held various leadership positions in organisations focused on expanding energy access in sub-Saharan Africa. In June 2020, the United States International Development Finance Corporation board of directors named her among the first members of the agency’s inaugural Development Advisory Council.
Ms Ogunbiyi said: “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 800m people globally lack access to electricity and we must close these gaps with renewable, efficient and affordable solutions.”
Ahead of the summit, the UK government announced a new £50m investment in a new clean energy innovation facility. This will help developing countries get easier access to innovative clean energy technologies, focusing on key sectors such as industry, cooling, smart energy and storage.
Mr Sharma also announced that Ford and Facebook had joined the campaign to reach net-zero carbon emissions. He said major companies such as the US carmaker and the social networking giant would join the Race to Zero campaign to accelerate net-zero carbon emission commitments.
Ms Ogunbiyi was the first woman to be appointed as managing director of the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency. In addition, she is also responsible for implementing the Nigerian Off Grid Electrification Programme and successfully negotiating the Nigerian Electrification Project, to rapidly construct solar mini-grids and deploy solar home systems across Nigeria.
She also developed the Energizing Economics Initiative and Energizing Education Programme, which provide sustainable and affordable off-grid power solutions. Before entering into government, Ms Ogunbiyi was the first woman to be appointed as the general manager of the Lagos State Electricity Board, which is responsible for public lighting, independent power projects and energy development across the state.