Spotlight Activity: Nigeria Lacks The Political Support Needed To Make Use Of Its Renewable Energy Potential
Nigeria is endowed with abundant energy resources, both conventional and renewable. It has enough renewable energy resources to meet the power needs of both urban and rural Nigerians. Yet, Nigeria has one of the lowest supply rates of electricity per capita in Africa. Many rural communities in particular lack access to electric power.
Nigeria’s most pressing need is for larger electricity supply and stronger grid reliability and security. The Renewable Energy Master Plan (REMP) being put in place is meant to increase the supply of renewable electricity from 13% of total electricity generation in 2015 to 23% in 2025 and 36% by 2030.
There are basic bureaucratic hurdles to effectively put into action an orderly energy policy in Nigeria. The level of energy supply in Nigeria keeps alarmingly fluctuating and reducing. There is an urgent need for the country to take advantage of its huge natural renewable resources such as solar PV, wind power, small hydropower, biomass, etc. to avoid a worsening energy supply scenario and provide feasible electricity to rural dwellers. (energsustainsoc.biomedcentral.com)
Nigeria’s climate, resources, and economic and societal conditions make solar energy a suitable alternative energy source. The Northern part of Nigeria has the highest potential for solar. The North has an average solar insolation of 2200 kWh/m^2, while the southern part has 1800 kWh/m^2.
Currently, total hydroelectric power potential is estimated to be about 8,824 MW with an annual electricity generation potential in excess of 36,000 GWh. This consists of 8,000 MW of large hydro power technology while the remaining 824 MW is small-scale hydro power technology.
Renewable energy sources have low operational and maintenance costs, most renewable energy technologies have high up-front capital cost compared to their conventional energy alternatives. Apart from the higher capital costs most renewable energy technologies face higher risks and uncertainties when making investment decisions just as conventional energy.
Nigeria has put in place a number of policies intended to promote the use of renewable energy, such as:
- National Energy Policy (NEP), 2003, 2006, 2013 – developed by the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) The main goal of the policy is to create energy security through a robust energy supply mix by diversifying the energy supply and energy carriers based on the principle of an energy economy in which modern renewable energy increases its share.
- National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS), 2004 – by the National Planning Commission (NPA) in 2004 this policy supports the creation of renewable energy agency and technologies which will be funded under the National Power Sector Reform Act.
- National Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA), 2005 – This policy seeks to privatize the Nigeria power sector thereby making it more efficient and effective.
- Renewable Electricity Policy Guidelines (REPG), 2006 – This policy promotes the expansion of electricity generation from renewables to at least 5% of the total electricity generated in the country.
- Renewable Energy Master Plan (REMP) 2005 and 2012 – by the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2005 but later in 2012. The REMP stress the need for the integration of renewables into buildings, electricity grids and for off-grid electrical systems. Further, the importance of solar power in the country’s energy mix is also highlighted. According to the REMP, Nigeria intends to increase the supply of renewable electricity from 13% of total electricity generation in 2015 to 23% in 2025 and 36% by 2030. However, the REMP have not been approved by the National Assembly to be passed into law.
Despite these policies Nigeria has failed to its utilize diverse energy resources for adequate development of the nation. Throughout the country there is an inadequate understanding of renewable energy, its source, how and what it can be used for. Though most renewable technologies have become popular in developing countries, it still seems new in Nigeria despite all the policies on ground supporting renewables.
Status: Standing Still
Strong and long-term political support at the federal, state and local government level is a consistent component in the successful development of renewable energy. Such support is lacking from the Nigerian government.
Write to Saleh Mamman and Prof. Eli Jidere Bala
We suggest that there is a need for widespread information in Nigeria on renewable energy resource availability, benefits and opportunity. The government should increase investment in renewable energy using both public sector funding and private investments so as to enhance technological innovation. Also a system of rational expectations between renewable electricity producers and the grid operators is imperative for the growth in grid-based renewables
Send Action Alert Message to:
The Federal Ministry of Power,
Director General, Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN)
Plot 701C, Behind National Mosque,
Central Business District, Abuja FCT Nigeria