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Published: 17 February 2016

Surrey graduate forges a path in energy sector

Improving access to renewable and clean energy around the world is the driving force behind the work of Surrey graduate Ugbizi Ogar, who has been commended in the Industry category of the Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Awards for 2015.

Ugbizi, who completed his MSc in Energy and Economics Policy in 2010, is the first African member of staff to be appointed to the International Energy Agency (IEA), an autonomous organisation which works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 29 member countries and beyond.

He is an energy analyst in Paris, on secondment from the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation where has worked for the last 10 years. Ugbizi said of his appointment to the IEA:

“I feel I am carrying the entire African continent on my shoulders.  I have a deep sense of commitment and know that being a Surrey graduate with a good Masters degree helped secure the place at the IEA. It is very gratifying and worthwhile to be involved with something I am so passionate about.”

Ugbizi’s role comprises the validation of data for use in the World Energy Outlook analysis of the energy sector in Africa. He also liaises with contacts on the African continent, including representatives of government departments and energy industry specialists.

Alongside his professional role, Ugbizi also supports the work of not-for-profit Energy Access Africa, (www.energyaccessafrica.com) whose aim is to implement simple off-grid energy solutions to bridge the energy gap across the continent.

He said: “I realised when I went to the IEA the chronic energy poverty in Africa. In my country, Nigeria, 50 per cent of the population has no access to basic energy for cooking and heating – that equates to around 75 million people. This is unacceptable in this day and age.

“There are signs of hope – there have been improvements to the grid with an extra 2,000 megawatts added in Nigeria this year and there is a solar power policy in place. There is still a lot of research to be done around clean energy and the technologies that need to be developed. However, we may have serious problems to overcome but it is very rewarding working in this field.”

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