Nigeria Look to Energy Efficiency and Renewables

A SCHEME aimed at cutting Nigeria’s carbon footprint through reducing energy use and implementing renewable energy sources has received the backing of the central government.

The scheme entitled the Nigeria Clean Energy Access Programme (NCEAP), it will be promoted by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Environment. Despite these efforts it is reported that the venture seems to be fraught with uncertainties as critics claim there needs to be clarity on the difference between energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The Nigerian energy sector is regarded as a key economic segment with high growth potential upon which domestic and international businesses thrive, but the countries power situation has been a source of embarrassment, with the government projecting that some N520 billion ($3.32 billion) is needed annually to achieve 13,000 mega-watts (mw) by 2013, from its current generation capacity of 4,200mw.

NCEAP aims to reduce power consumption, and consequently cut down CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) through energy efficiencies.

Bahijjahtu Abubakar, National Coordinator of the Environment Ministry’s Renewable Energy Programme (REP), stated:

“The net effect for the average Nigerian corporate organisation and household is an instant reduction in power generation and consumption costs. Being environmentally honourable and upright is not an accident but a choice, a choice we can make collectively to alter the course of development of our nation.”

Minister of Environment, John Odey, says the programme will integrate government initiatives in terms of climate change as well as contribute immensely to the nation’s economic growth, for instance:

“The renewable energy programme is an initiative of the ministry, which was established in May 2010 as part of our national efforts at tackling the challenges of climate change through voluntary emission reduction,” Odey said..

Minister of State for Power, Nuhu Way said:

“It is obvious that there is a lack of capacity in Nigeria.

“It is in the light of this that this First Renewable Energy Day programme for Nigeria was initiated to think about the future of Nigeria’s energy production and use in a more intelligent way.

“The climate change phenomenon caused by the depletion of the ozone layers as a result of the emission of greenhouse gases is real; so we are determined to harness all our abundant primary energy resources to get adequate power to drive our vision of becoming one of the 20 most developed economies of the world by the year 2020.”

Certain parties have questioned the project, saying that its values appear mixed up. Some critics have claimed:

“Why is it associated with the REP and inaugurated on the Renewable Energy Day? Is it because it is a renewable energy programme? Of course, it is not: it is an efficient energy or energy saving initiative.

“Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are naturally replenished. Energy efficiency on the other hand entails efforts to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services.”

Victor Fodeke of the Environment Ministry’s Special Climate Change Unit, who acted as the DNA to the project, explains that it falls under a renewable energy programme in the light of the fact that solar panels are supplied with the inverters:

“The entire programme is a combination of energy efficiency and renewable energy systems. While (for example) energy efficient bulbs utilise only 25 percent of energy on one hand, the energy, on the other hand, is generated via a renewable source: solar. So, it is a maximum gain package. 

“It is a positive signal and win-win situation for Nigeria. We can use the little energy we have efficiently, even without building more power stations that will generate GHGs. It will save the economy and generate more jobs.”

Monday 17th January 2011

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