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Renewable Energy in Nigeria; Status, Policy, Challenges, Progress and Potentials

Here in this post, we are going to discuss Renewable Energy in Nigeria. Status, Policy, Challenges, Progress and Potentials. Hope you enjoy reading this.

Renewable energy also known as alternative energy is the usable energy derived from replenishable energy such as the sun (known as solar energy), rivers (known as hydroelectricity), wind (wind power), hot springs (geothermal energy), tides (tidal power), and biomass (biofuels).

Renewable energy in Nigeria is majorly restricted to hydroelectricity, biomass (via the burning of wood), solar energy, and to a very negligible level, wind energy. Currently, the bona fide sources of renewable energy include hydro-power, solar energy and biomass (via the burning of wood).

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Renewable Energy in Nigeria; Status, Policy, Challenges, Progress and Potentials
Renewable Energy in Nigeria – Photo Source: https://www.nigeriaelectricityhub.com

Status of Renewable Energy in Nigeria

As it stands, renewable energy in Nigeria is still at its developmental phase, a phase where one would call the era of discovery and pondering over the discovery made.

It is synonymous with the plight of the proverbial hunter who discovered treasure and kept it wrapped and hidden whilst still making up his mind on what to with it.

The past two years have seen a great influx of projects and inventions geared towards the greater utilization of solar energy. Wind energy is still at a very minimal level of utilization if used at all.

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Renewable Energy in Nigeria: Policy

In 2003, the Nigerian Government introduced renewable energy as part of its National Energy Policy. The 2006 Renewable Energy Master Plan (REMP), commits Nigeria to short, medium and long-term goals of development and implementation of renewable energy resources (Nwagbo 2017).  The National Energy Policy in Nigeria is summarized as been tasked with the following;

First, to protect the environment in the face of exploitation of fossil fuels and secondly, the greater emphasis on the utilization of renewable energy.

These policies are best described as currently been in the process of been implemented.

Challenges of Renewable Energy

First of these challenges is obviously funds or finance needed to construct facilities required for the maximal utilization of renewable energy.

The high cost of equipment and related components required for the set up of such facilities are usually hard to come by or takes time before it is eventually released by the appropriate authorities.

Second is the incomplete accessibility to the National grid. This is seen in a greater dimension with those who live in the rural areas.

Abundance of sunlight with little or minimal utilization of it in order to generate energy leaves one at a repeatedly dead end. This unfortunately has been the plight of at least 35 percent of Nigerians who represent rural dwellers in the country.

Thirdly is inadequate human resources representing the work force. Technical know –how is the key to the rise of any reasonable infrastructure.

The last estimate made by the United Nations gave an indicator of about 197,052,706 Nigerians. It implies that a set up is needed that will provide an avenue for at least 75 percent of this huge population to be able to have access to or utilize maximally, renewable energy resources.

Sadly with an educational system that worships theory and abandons the practicality of what is taught, the technical know-how of setting up such a befitting structure is lacking.

Fourthly is what I call the Nigerian factor, here available resources are either hoarded or released based on what gang you fall into.

Tribalism has been an unofficial language spoken in Nigeria since Independence. The opportunities for growth and progress are silently hindered by the benefactor if you both are not on familiar terms or released if the reverse is the case.

Lastly but more importantly is the painful yet undeniable existence of corruption in the country. This has grown into a malignant cancer that has eaten deep into the fabrics of the Nigerian system.

According to Wikipedia 2018, Political corruption is a persistent phenomenon in Nigeria. Now according to this source, the rise of public administration and the discovery of oil and natural gas are two major events believed to have led to the sustained increase in the incidence of corrupt practices in the country.

This sadly has an element of truth therein as a trip down the lanes of the respective governments has seen a reoccurrence of this practice.

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Progress

Recent years have seen a great increase in investments geared towards the greater utilization of solar energy. In 2016, President Muhammad Buhari inaugurated the country’s first solar plant in Ibadan. About 20 million dollars have been invested on solar projects throughout the country as at December 2017.

Potentials

Nigeria still remains an undisputed untapped reservoir for renewable energy. The North currently, has an average solar insolation of 2200 kWh/^2 and the South, about 1800kWh/m^2.  The potentials of renewable energy in Nigeria according to Data base Nigeria, can be grouped into the following:

Physical Potential

Here as earlier mentioned, the physical potential implies that most of the sources of renewable energy in Nigeria remain untapped. However, poor information on willing sponsors in the private sector, as well as the mass oil exploration in the southern part of the country, raise undesirable barriers.

Solar Potential

Nigeria has enormous solar energy potential, with fairly distributed solar radiation averaging 19.8 MJm2/day and average sunshine hours of 6h/day.

The assumed potential for concentrated solar power and photovoltaic generation is around 427,000 MW. According to estimates, the designation of only 5% of suitable land in central and northern Nigeria for solar thermal would provide a theoretical generation capacity of 42,700 MW. In July 2016, 14 Greenfield Independent photovoltaic (PV) power projects with a capacity of 1,125MW had their PPAs signed by the Federal Government owned NBET.

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Hydro Potential

Hydropower has been a cornerstone of grid-powered generation in Nigeria for decades. 15% of current power generation sources in the country are hydro based.

The country is reasonably endowed with large rivers and some few natural falls. In all parts of Nigeria, potential sites for unexploited small hydropower exist, with an estimated total capacity of 3,500 MW.

A multitude of river systems, providing a total of 70 micro dams, 126 mini dam and 86 small sites, supply a technically exploitable large hydropower potential estimated to be about 11,2500 MW.

Under recent circumstances, only 17% is being tapped. Potential large investments in some significant hydropower sources and even some plans, such as the dam for the Mambilla plateau in northern Nigeria, have been struggling due to large investments cost required and lead times needed.

The potential for small hydro power is about 3,500 MW, with just about 64.2 MW being exploited. By 2020, the Nigerian government aims to have increased the hydroelectricity generation capacity to 5,690 MW.

This projection shall be met through an upgrade of old hydroelectricity plants and the installation of new hydro power plants.

Hydro Power development by the Federal Ministry of Power (2014)

Power Station Capacity (MW) Status
Zungeru project 700 financing secured
Mambilla Project 3050 under development
Gurara II Project 360 under development
Gurara I Project 30 under development
Itisi Project 40 under development
Kashimbilla Project 40 under development

Wind Potential

The Wind energy potential in Nigeria is very modest, with annual average speeds of about 2.0 m/s at the coastal region and 4.0 m/s at heights of 30m in the far northern region of the country.

Based on wind energy resource mapping carried out by the Ministry of Science and Technology. Wind speed of up to 5m/s were recorded in the most suitable locations, which reveals only a moderate and local potential for wind energy.

The highest wind speeds can be expected in the Sokoto region, the Jos Plateau, Gembu and Kano / Funtua. From the study, Maiduguri, Lagos and Enugu also indicated fair wind speeds, sufficient for energy generation by wind farms. Apart from these sites, other promising regions with usable wind potential are located on the Nigeria western shoreline (Lagos Region) and partly on the Mambila Plateau.

A 10MW wind farm projects is currently being built in Katsina, and expected to be completed in 2017.

Biomass Potential

The biomass resources of Nigeria are mainly crops, forage grasses, shrubs, animal wastes and waste arising from forestry, agriculture and municipal and industrial activities.

Crops such as sweet sorghum, maize, and sugarcane are the most promising feedstock for biofuel production. According to estimates, the daily production of animal waste in Nigeria is about 227,500 tons, which could lead to about 6.8 million m3 of biogas.

Though the technology itself is not yet established in the country, a variety of research covering different aspects of biogas production in Nigeria, such as technical feasibility or policy recommendations, are ongoing.

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Summary of Renewable Energy Potentials in Nigeria

Resource Potential Comments
Large Hydropower 11,250MW 1,900MW exploited
Small Hydropower 3,500MW 64.2MW exploited
Solar 4.0kWh/m2/day – 6.5kWh/m2/day Significant potentials for solar infrastructure; both for on-grid and on-grid use
Wind Average of 2-4m/s @ 10m hub height Moderate wind potentials in the country.
Biomass Municipal waste 18.5 million tonnes produced in 2005 and now estimated at 0.5kg/capita/day
Fuel wood 43.4 million tonnes/yr of fuel wood consumption
Agricultural residues 91.4 million tonnes/yr. produced
Energy crops 28.2 million hectares of arable land; 8.5% cultivated

Source: ECN (2014), Energy Implications of Vision 20: 2020 and Beyond, Report no.: ECN/EPA/2014/01.

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Anigbogu Chinenye

Anigbogu Chinenye is a Content Developer at InfoGuideNIgeria.com. InfoGuide Nigeria is a team of Resource Persons and Consultants led by Ifiokobong Ibanga. Page maintained by Ifiokobong Ibanga. If you need a personal assistance on this topic, kindly contact us.

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