Against the backdrop of the worsening state of electricity supply in the country, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and other stakeholders have stressed the need for increased renewable energy in the nation’s power generation mix.
They also called for a consensus on the right energy mix for the country and the implementation of the renewable energy policy.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ roundtable conference on Nigeria’s energy mix strategy and the future of renewable energy organised by the NESG on Wednesday in Lagos, a Research Co-ordinator for Energy and Climate Policy, Oeko Institut, Dr. Felix Matthes, while sharing the German experience, said Germany had been able to significantly increase the use of renewable energy sources such as solar power.
The Chairman of the Board, NESG, Mr. Kyari Bukar, noted that gas-fired plants currently accounted for 64 per cent of Nigeria’s electricity supply, adding that huge investments that were presently unavailable would be needed in gas infrastructure to meet current and future projected demands, assuming existing generation mix remained constant.
He said, “The Energy Commission of Nigeria predicts that energy demand will hit 250,000 megawatts by 2030. The current generated capacity of about 4,000MW for a population of approximately 170 million inhabitants clearly demonstrates that Nigeria is facing an energy crisis.
“It is against this backdrop that conversations have started regarding alternative energy sources for the nation and we acknowledge efforts by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, to promptly address acute energy shortage as well as commend his dedication to public engagement in this regard.”
He said in tackling the nation’s energy constraint, there was a need to agree on appropriate total energy mix for the next few years as well as the targets to attain the agreed mix.
“If and when we achieve a consensus on the right energy mix comes the role that policy will play in getting us to this destination, as well as the strategic plans to implement the policy and a framework to monitor implementation.
Bukar stated that Germany had been able to increase the contribution of renewable energy from 10 per cent in its energy mix to 30 per cent between 2005 and 2015 through on-grid and off-grid generation.
He said on May 15, this year, renewable energy supplied almost all of Germany’s power demand for the first time, supplying 45,500MW out of the 45,800MW demand.
“Just as Germany has a key piece of legislation called the Renewable Energy Act, that is driving its energy transition, Nigeria has its own Renewable Energy Policy that was launched in April 2015. Critical elements of both policies are similar and my thought would be for us as a collective to set out to implement policy.
“Given that there is so much going on in our traditional energy space, coupled with grid issues, it is clear that we have to actively consider decentralised renewable energy generation as a key to resolving our energy challenges.”
The Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, who was represented by Dr. Peter Tarfa of the Climate Change Department, said part of the focus of the ministry was to tackle climate change, adding that it would require the collaboration of the major emitters of the green gases, including the power sector.
She said, “In that regard, we have to collaborate and key into the vision of the power sector. We are strongly in support of renewable energy but we have a lot of reservations on coal. A lot of developed countries including Germany are now shifting away from the utilisation of coal.
“We strongly encourage the utilisation of renewable energy like solar and wind, including gas. We are very rich in gas and we should utilise it for our energy needs.”
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Mr. Louis Edozien, noted that over the past months, the minister had articulated a road map, and a vision of incremental, steady and uninterrupted power.