'Nigeria lags behind in renewable energy investment'

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NIGERIA’S commitment to renewable energy development has been assessed to be very insignificant to its pears in the continent, as the latest report on renewable excluded Nigeria among the top investment destinations in Africa for the alternative energy sources.

Although, the Federal Government has continued to reiterate its commitment to developing renewable energy to surmount the erratic electricity supply challenges in the country, the report by Bloomberg saw a non-ambitious plans towards actualizing the agenda.

Having estimated that renewable energy investments in sub-Saharan Africa would reach the $5.9 billion mark in 2014, and grow to $7.7 billion in 2016, it noted that the investments are predominantly expected from South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia, leaving Nigeria out of the high-ranking renewable energy sought countries.

The report stated that Sub-Saharan Africa is emerging as one of the most exciting new markets for renewable energy technologies such as onshore wind, small-scale and utility-scale solar and geothermal power.

The analysis suggests that 1.8GW of renewable power capacity (excluding large hydro-electric projects) will be commissioned in the region in 2014.

“That is still small by world standards, but it is more than the amount that came online in the entire 2000-13 period,” it stated.

The advance of renewable energy in Africa reflects a combination of growing local need for power, and awareness that the cost per MWh of clean options such as wind and photovoltaics has declined sharply over recent years. Renewables can represent a cost-effective alternative, particularly compared to diesel generation but also to power stations burning coal or gas.

Senior analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Victoria Cuming, said: “Sub-Saharan Africa is not new to renewable energy. South Africa has been an active market for a few years and there have been occasional large investments in geothermal in the Rift Valley countries. What is different now is the breadth of activity, with wind, solar and geothermal exciting interest in many different countries, and the potential for further growth.”

“The three largest markets for utility-scale renewable power over the 2014-16 period are forecast to be South Africa with 3.9GW likely to be installed, the largest part of which will be wind, followed by solar PV with a smaller amount of solar thermal; Kenya with 1.4GW, mainly geothermal and wind; and Ethiopia with nearly 570MW, largely wind with some geothermal.

“ Some other countries such as Nigeria are seeing ambitious plans mooted for gigawatts of renewable power, but have yet to put in place the stable policy regime to reassure investors.”

Meanwhile, Vice-President Namadi Sambo, recently assured that Nigeria would fully utilise its abundant renewable energy resources to enhance electricity supply across the country.

The vice-president noted that the global trend in power generation was efficient utilisation of renewable energy, particularly solar energy, which Nigeria has in abundance.

The Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil, also recently said the Federal Government had concluded plans to launch a National Policy on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency to boost power supply in the country.

Wakil said that in the policy, government sought to provide an integrated framework for all stakeholders, especially investors, in clean energy for power generation and the general development of renewable energy in Nigeria.

He said government was committed to joining the global trend of using clean energy and harnessing solar wind and hydro resources to address the power challenge in the country.

He added: “As we are conversing now, we have concluded work on the National Policy on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. “The policy will harness and provide focal point for all national efforts on renewable energy. This is in line with the commitment of the ECOWAS President, Kadré Desiré Ouedraogo, as well as the need for us as a nation, to diversify our sources of power supply.’’

The minister also said that the government was working on a vision to generate about 30,000 megawatts from renewable sources to augment supply from the national grid.

SOURCE: Nigeria Guardian, August 28th 2014: http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/business/176609-nigeria-lags-behind-in-re...