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POWER CRISIS: FG URGED TO DECENTRALISE ENERGY SOURCES

By NBF News
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The Federal Government of Nigeria has been called upon to undertake a decentralised electricity generation programme, tapping from renewable energy sources and other conventional sources.

Speaking at the Third Alternative Power Exhibition in Lagos, Professor Titilayo Kuku, Chairman, Council for Renewable Energy in Nigeria, disclosed that the decentralisation becomes imperative going by the enormous potentials presented by these alternative sources of energy.

The renewable energy sources, according to him, include: Biomass, biogas, wind, solar, mini-hydro and geo-thermal,

Kuku, who is also from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, said that renewable energy remains a veritable consideration the quest of the government to diversify Nigeria's energy sources.

He called on the federal government to urgently consider the Renewable Energy Policy document for Nigeria being propounded by the Energy Commission of Nigeria, so as to ensure a smooth take-off of the use of renewable energy sources.

He said, 'With nearly one billion people, Africa accounts for over a sixth of the world's population but generates only four per cent of global electricity, 75 per cent of which is used by South Africa, Egypt and some other countries in North Africa

'We are aware that the Energy Commission of Nigeria has been working on a Renewable Energy Policy document for Nigeria. I believe certain measures have been suggested in the document towards the adoption of renewable energy technologies in Nigeria.

'An appeal is made to the Federal Government to have a quick look and have an adoption of the policy document so as to have a guided and effective take-off of the use of renewable energy sources.

'From a longer-term perspective and the need to maximally develop domestic supply options as well as the need to diversify energy sources, renewables remain important to Nigeria's energy sector.

'It would not be out of place to mention that solar power, wind and mini-hydro could be important players in Nigeria attaining energy independence in the long run.'

At the exhibition organized by Lagos Television and Folub Eletrik Servz, Kuku said it is imperative that the federal government provide some form of incentives for the acquisitions of renewable energies so as to encourage its adoption by Nigerians, especially with the enormous benefits presented by it.

'The incentive,' he said, 'could be in form of subsidy towards the acquisition of the systems. Subsidy may be justified on several grounds. A renewable energy source may be environmentally benign.

'It may be locally available making it possible to supply energy earlier than a centralized system.

'Grid connected renewables could improve the quality of supply and provide system benefits by generating energy at the ends of the grid where otherwise supply would have been lax. Further, renewables may provide employment and livelihood to the poor.

'However, the subsidies should be given for a well-defined period or up to a well-defined limit. The correct government policy in this direction will be most beneficial to our nation.'

On the benefits, Kuku said, 'Renewable energies can provide sustainable energy services, using a mix of readily available, indigenous resources with potential to result in minimal local environmental damage or net emissions of GHGs.

'A transition to renewables-based energy systems looks increasingly desirable and possible because the costs of solar and wind power systems have dropped substantially in the past 30 years.

'Most forecasts indicate that costs of renewably produced electricity should continue to decline, while the price of oil and gas continues to fluctuate. If social and environmental costs are included in the estimation of electricity costs, RETs become still more attractive.'