How Nigeria can tackle energy challenge with renewable sources
Nigeria can address its seemingly insurmountable energy issue by tapping into its abundant renewable energy potential, which is presently underutilized.
During a virtual dialogue hosted by the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN), experts concurred that Nigeria possesses vast natural resources that could be utilized to establish a significant renewable energy foundation capable of satisfying its energy requirements. The theme of the virtual dialogue was “Leveraging Renewable Energy Potential to Combat Energy Poverty in Nigeria.”
Chief Executive Officer, Powerup Renewables Limited, Mr. Chidi Obike, said Nigeria is not only one of the most populous countries in Africa, but it also has the largest economy on the continent.
According to him, with a rapidly growing population, there is a high demand for energy services, which presents a great opportunity to develop the country and tap into its natural renewable energy resources, promoting low-carbon economic growth.
He highlighted the major renewable energy resources in Nigeria, such as solar power, which has an estimated potential of 210,000 megawatts according to Arena; hydropower, with a potential of 24,000 megawatts; and waste-to-energy. Current solar deployment stands at around 50 megawatts.
He noted that Nigeria has been dealing with an extremely unreliable and insufficient power supply from the national grid for over four decades.
“Solar power is the most practical solution to this significant power issue. It is the most affordable power source, can be quickly deployed, and can be used on-site when needed,” Obike said.
He, however, noted that the Nigerian government has realized the importance of utilizing the country’s abundant renewable resources, especially solar power, to establish a sustainable energy system.
“To achieve this, the government has developed strategic policies and laws, such as the Energy Transition Plan and the Electricity Act 2023.
These initiatives include provisions like feed-in tariffs, a rural fund for renewable electricity projects, and a renewable energy purchase obligation for bulk power traders.
The Act also simplifies the licensing process and reduces fees for renewable energy projects. Additionally, it allows for the decentralization of Nigeria’s power system, enabling state governments to generate, transmit, and distribute power within their states,” Obike said.
He expressed optimism that the implementation of the Electricity Act would position Nigeria as a leader in renewable energy while also addressing electricity supply issues and mitigating the impacts of climate change.
Chief Operating Officer, Solar Sister, Mrs. Olasimbo Sojinrin, noted that energy poverty disproportionately affects girls and young women, impacting their education and economic development.
She explained that the birth of Solar Sister was driven by the desire to empower people to access energy and thrive.
She emphasized the importance of climate action, which is often overlooked, noting that every country is focused on achieving net zero emissions and mitigating carbon emissions.
“Renewable energy is the way forward to combat pollution and preserve our ozone layer. We need to change our behaviors and embrace clean energy solutions,” Sojinrin said.