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Examining Potentials In Renewable Energy

Posted: Sep 29, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Phillip Oladunjoye,

Lagos

There are indications that the Federal Government should focus more on developing the potentials in the renewable energy sub sector for it to meet the electricity requirement of Nigerians.

Industry analysts believe that the constant drop in electricity generation and distribution usually occasioned by the vandalisation of gas pipelines by hoodlums would no longer affect electricity supply if the potential of the various sources of renewable energy are harnessed, as they won’t need gas to power them.

Based on the importance of renewable energy, former Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, advised the present administration to remain receptive to investors with interest in other sources of electricity generation in the country.

Nebo said that concentration of future investments in coal, solar, and waste could guarantee that efforts by the former government of Goodluck Jonathan at increasing in-country electricity generation and supply would be sustained.

Nebo said that investments in these alternative electricity sources could minimise abysmal sabotage on the power systems, which, he noted, was crippling government’s efforts at improving power supply in Nigeria.

According to the Nigeria’s Renewable Energy Resources, several foreign investments have been made in the renewable energy sub-sector of the energy sector.

It noted that a Korean firm, HQMC Korea Company Limited, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Government to invest up to $30 billion to build a 10,000MW solar power plant in Nigeria over several years.

Also, the Jigawa State Government, it said, has signed an MoU with NOVA Scotia Power Development Limited for the development of a N34 billion, 50MW solar power project in the state; while  Canada’s Sky Power, from North America, will be investing $5bn in developing a 3000MW solar-powered electricity facility in Delta State.

Other renewable projects in the pipeline, according to the  Nigeria’s Renewable Energy Resources, include the 3,050MW Mambilla Hydro Power Plant Project, 360MW Gurara II Hydro Power Plant Project, 38MW Dadinkowa Hydro Power Plant Project, 40MW Itisi Hydro power Plant Project, 3,100MW Mambilla Hydro and 700MW Zungeru Hydro.

This, it noted, was a far cry from 2012 when Africa had about $4.3 billion of the $268.7 billion invested globally in renewable energy, of which Nigeria had a negligible portion.

“About $260 billion was spent globally, but Nigeria’s investment was almost zero. It was very low,” said Segun Adaju, project manager, Bank of Industry/UNDP Access to Renewable Energy.

It explained that based on the Renewable Energy Master Plan (REMP), which seeks to increase the supply of renewable electricity from 13 percent of total electricity generation in 2015 to 23 percent in 2025 and 36 percent by 2030, renewable electricity would account for 10% of Nigerian total energy consumption by 2025.

It noted that Nigeria has the installed capacity to generate 2100MW from hydro, which was the only renewable source supplying the commercial grid.

It explained that legacy assets currently have a total of 1,310MW installed renewable energy generation, which include Hydro, which has 1,300MW installed capacity (Kainji Hydropower Station with eight generating units; Jebba Hydro Power Station with six generating units; and Shiroro Hydro Power Station, which has four generating units) and Wind, which has installed 10MW capacity (pilot), noting that the 10MW Wind Farm was ready for commissioning and concessioning.

The energy resource outfit noted that with the new investments and projects in the pipeline, this would bring the total renewable energy installed capacity to 21,648 MW, noting that investments in renewable power have been bolstered by the political will from the Federal Government.

Former Vice President, Arc Namadi Sambo, had also noted that Nigeria would fully utilise its abundant renewable energy resources to enhance electricity supply across the country, noting that the then government had concluded plans to launch the National Policy on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency to boost power supply in the country.

For instance, the Nigeria-Germany Energy partnership under the Nigeria Energy Support Programme (NESP), an initiative signed between former President Goodluck Jonathan and his German counterpart, Chancellor Angela Merkel, which recorded a sound achievement when the former Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, commissioned a 25KW Hybrid solar PV/ wind demonstration power plant.

The plant is located at the National Power Training institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) Regional Training Centre (RTC), Kainji, New Bussa, Niger State.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, Godknows Igali, who represented the former minister at the commissioning of the project, said the project was the first of its kind in the West African sub-region, as the plant combines more than one source of renewable energy and is able to operate off-grid as well as on-grid.

The plant, according to him, consists of a 10Kilowatts solar PV and three wind turbines of 5kw each making 25kilowatts power plant. He said the plant in addition to generating clean energy, is perfectly suited as a demonstration and training facility for students being trained in the Institute.

Nebo had also noted that the project would help to provide an urgent solution to power supply shortages associated with pipeline vandalism, as gas is not required for the smooth operation of the renewable energy plant.

He had commended the German government for its role in the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP), a programme implemented by the German Agency for International Co-operation (GIZ), together with the Power Ministry and other public institutions, to improve the conditions for policy reforms and investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency, rural electrification and capacity building.

Also, the Director General of the Institute, Engr. Reuben Okeke, said that the project was bound to further strengthen and support the success of the “Operation Light-Up Rural Nigeria” Initiative, by providing adequate and skilled manpower during installation, operation and maintenance of all the facilities.

Engr. Okeke said the Hybrid demonstration plant would greatly add to the learning potentials of other institutes, while taking NAPTIN closer to the dream of being a world class institute.

The Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of the Republic of Germany, Mr. Klemens Momkes, said the successful delivery of the project was one more proof of the close relationship between Germany and Nigeria on matters related to promoting a sustainable and reliable power sector in Nigeria, noting that the Energy Support Programme (NESP) was being implemented by GIZ and funded by the German government as well as the European Union.

Also, the country Director, Deutsche Gessells – Chaft for Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Dr. Thomas Kirtsch, said, the hybrid PV/plant is the result and the beginning of a successful cooperation between Nigeria and German under the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP), explaining that the NESP, which is a five year programme, aimed at improving the conditions for investment and renewable energy, energy efficiency and rural electrification.

Meanwhile, the Renewable Energy Master Plan (REMP), indicated specific areas of investment for prospective investors, namely: Small-hydro: 600 MW in 2015 and 2, 000 MW by 2025; Solar PV: 500 MW by 2025; Biomass-based power plants: 50 MW in 2015 and 400 MW by 2025; Wind: 40 MW for wind energy by 2025.

Industry observers believe that despite these strides, more work still needed to be done.

For instance, a recent Bloomberg report estimated that renewable energy investments in sub-Saharan Africa would grow to $7.7 billion in 2016, noting that the investments are predominantly expected from South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia, leaving Nigeria out of the top three countries investors seek out for renewable energy investments.