By Climate Scorecard Nigeria Country Manager Peter Hansen
When it comes to finding the best practice related to Nigeria’s production and/or distribution of renewable energy, there is not much information since the country is severely lacking in renewable energy production. In fact, only 0.35% of Nigeria’s total energy supply comes from hydropower and just a mere 0.001% of the energy supply comes from wind and solar power. This comes as no surprise as Nigeria is a developing country heavily dependent upon exporting oil. According to the Geopolitical Gains and Losses (GeGaLo) index, Nigeria ranks 149 out of 156 countries that will benefit from the energy transition. Dishearteningly, transitioning to green energy is not a high priority for the Nigerian government.
A country like Nigeria has great potential to develop its solar power energy due to its high amount of sunlight. Thankfully, the Nigerian government has acknowledged this potential and has announced that it will focus on developing its solar power infrastructure in its bouncing back from COVID-19 economic plan. However, as noted earlier, there are not many current practices of production of renewable energy so instead the implications of the proposed project can be discussed.
In previous posts for Nigeria, there has been mention of a proposed “Energy for All” plan which aims to provide solar panels to 5 million households that are not currently on the grid. If this plan were to be actually implemented by the Nigerian government, then it would be by far their best practice of renewable energy. The first part of the plan is to grant access to electricity for millions of people who did not have it before. For a developing a country, this has huge implications as it will allow room for human development and a decrease in rural poverty. After that, the implementation of solar panels is expected to decrease the use of non-renewable energy as, currently, 75% of the country’s energy consumption comes from biofuels.
The majority of the solar panels to be implemented in the proposed project will be in rural areas since, for the most part, urban areas have access to the electricity grid. Thus, the project will not have much of an effect on the emissions in urban areas. The project is no small task for Nigeria as it will require substantial investment by the government. The estimated cost is around N240,000,000,000 or $620,000,000. Although the plan is costly, the country will eventually make the money back by increasing human development and creating a more sustainable economy. Another obstacle for the project apart from the cost, would be that not enough Nigerians know about the technology—making it hard to implement on a mass scale. To help mitigate this issue, Nigeria has started to create training schools on solar energy. For example, Wavetra Energy Academy is a leading training institute that trains its students on everything to do with solar energy and, most importantly, their installation.
If the project is completed, it will completely transform Nigeria’s rural economy. It will drastically decrease the use of biofuels and lower the number of people living below the poverty line in the country. A project like this can set a great example for other developing countries in Africa that have a lot of access to sunlight. At the moment, the main obstacle would have to be the cost of the project, but it could be replicated across the continent.
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Bouncing back plan :
GeGaLo (Geopolitical Gains and Losses) index