SUNGAS: Ensuring sustainable energy access in Nigeria

2009 - 2016

The SUNGAS project brought partners together to ensure access to energy and community-based energy facilities in some of the poorest communities in Nigeria. 

Woman silhouetted in front of gas flare

A woman dries tapioca beside a burning gas flare near Warri, Nigeria (Photo: copyright George Osodi/Panos Pictures)

Nigeria has vast oil and gas reserves and abundant renewable energy potential. Yet the country’s energy crisis undermines its ability to reduce poverty and support socio-economic development. 

The SUNGAS (Sustainable Utilisation of Nigeria’s Gas and Renewable Energy Resources) project was conceived to catalyse the development of natural gas and renewable energy markets, as well as sustainable community-based energy facilities, in some of the poorest communities in Nigeria, focusing on the Niger Delta region. 

It aimed to demonstrate that alternative community-based energy facilities were able to provide sufficient power for meeting rural and urban community needs through policymaking activities.

What did IIED do?

IIED worked with ‘champions’ of sustainable energy, who carried out a range of projects to secure access to energy for poor communities within the country, and analysed the impacts of this work.

As a result, IIED published the 'Access to sustainable energy: what role for international oil and gas companies? Focus on Nigeria' report that explored how international oil and gas companies could contribute to tackling energy poverty in regions where they operate by developing initiatives with governments, donors and civil society.


Solar lanterns in Niger Delta communities. Experiences in building a sustainable distribution model (2016), Stakeholder Democracy Network report

CMAP solar case study, Stakeholder Democracy Network (2016), Case study

Staying power. Can communities sustain solar-powered water projects in the Niger Delta?, Miriam Isoun (2014), IIED report

Renewable energy potential in Nigeria. Low-carbon approaches to tackling Nigeria's energy poverty, Chris Newsom (2012), IIED report

Can renewable energy turn Nigeria's lights on?, Chris Newsom (2012), IIED report

Low-carbon energy development in Nigeria. Challenges and opportunities, Ewah Otu Eleri, Precious Onuvae, Okechukwu Ugwu (2012), IIED report

Can the low-carbon development agenda increase energy access for the poor in Nigeria?, Ewah Otu Eleri, Precious Onuvae, Okechukwu Ugwu (2012), IIED briefing

Energy use and usage perceptions in the Niger Delta, Olumide Oyebamiji, Rita Kigbara (2011), Stakeholder Democracy Network survey

Access to sustainable energy: what role for international oil and gas companies? Focus on Nigeria, Brian Shaad, Emma Wilson (2009), IIED report

Sustainable utilisation of Nigeria’s gas and renewable energy resources, Emma Wilson (2008), Project material