Nigeria’s long, bumpy road to renewable energy generation

The country is yet to generate a reasonable megawatt of electricity from renewables, despite having ambitious plans to obtain 36 per cent of its energy use by 2030, writes AKINOLA AJIBADE



With Nigeria having an average of five hours sunlight per day, wind speed of between two million and four million squares, vast coal reserves, huge deposit of biomass and small hydro facilities, which when fully explored over a period of time would help generate thousands of electricity megawatts needed for
for socio-economic growth, the country, no doubt, has huge renewable’s potential.


Interestingly, Nigeria has the opportunity to generate renewable electricity that is enough to surpass or, at best, equal the installed capacity of 12,522 MW, which the country is boasting of.


Recall that the country generates between 3,800 MW and 4,000 MW of electricity daily and when removed from the installed capacity of 12,522 MwW, one would realise that the sector is as good as dead, as it cannot meet the needs of the country.


However, in a manner that can be referred to as abnormal, many people seem to be sitting down, crossing legs, folding arms and watching some developed countries taking advantage of the renewable potential at their disposal for growth, while Nigeria, at the same, allows its renewable energy sources to rot away.


New Telegraph’s investigation reveals that the best thing Nigerians, especially those in the semi-urban and rural areas, can do is to leverage early morning sunlight to dry their yam and cassava flour in order to satisfy their dietary lifestyle.


To this groups, food seems to be the ultimate thing they can strive for, not the comfort of over 200 million Nigerians, who are being subjected to power outage, following the dismal state of power sector in the country.


While this lasted, oil conglomerates, countries and agencies, among others, are seeing the need to deepen the use of renewable energy globally, at least, to help in migrating from the use of fossil fuels to low carbon energy.


Industry observers said that the use of renewable energy globally is the way to go, moreso that the countries were aspiring to meet the deadline of 2050 set for them to transit from fossil to low carbon fuels.


Federal Government’s attempts


The Federal Government had introduced Renewable Energy Master Plan (REMP) years ago, with a view to increasing the supply of renewable electricity from 13 per cent in 2015 to 23 per cent in 2025 and 36 per cent by 2030.


In the recokning of government, renewable energy would, by 2025, account for 10 per cent of Nigerians’ total energy consumption. This is an ambitious plan by government, which realises the need to improve supply of electricity to its citizens?


State  of renewable energy in Nigeria

Renewable penetration in the country is still in its nascent stage as both educated and non-educated Nigerians have not given that segment of the nation’s power sector the desired attention.

The Federal Government is mustering all possibilities to ensure adequate deployment of renewable energy across the rural settings through the Rural Electrification Agency (REA)


This was re-emphasised in December last year by the Managing Director of REA, Ahmad Salihijo, when he said in Kogi State that being a mandate by the Federal Government, REA would vigorously pursue the responsibility of powering unserved and underserved communities across Nigeria, using off-grid solutions.


“Providing and increasing energy access to millions of Nigerians through off-grid solutions is critical, as the end goal is to ensure the equitable delivery of the social and economic benefits that will improve lives across the nation,” he added.


“Government would not lose sight of providing clean, safe and reliable energy for healthcare infrastructure in the country, stressing that quality healthcare delivery relies on sustainable energy.

“We are in no doubt about the continued impact of the Federal Government’s Power Sector Roadmap as well as our capacity to leverage on our off-grid expertise and potential to transform and catalyse rural socio-economic growth and development in Nigeria.”


He however called on community members as well as the hospital management to make the best use and protect power facilities in and around their communities.


New Telegraph’s findings show that while some non-literates do not know what renewable energy entails, the literate, who even have money to invest in renewables, handle it with contempt.

This explains why investment in renewable energy sources such as solar, coal, biomass, wind and hydro is very poor in the country.


Information reliably gathered has it that wind and solar energy are being deployed in a minuscule amount in Nigeria, despite government’s insistence that it must be give serious  attention, while hydropower and biomass energy also suffer similar treatment.


Investments in renewable energy

Nigeria is facing serious energy crisis due to declining generation from domestic power plants, a development, which requires that citizens invest in solar, wind, biomass and small hydro means of generating electricity.


Investments in renewable energy takes the following patterns, though relative, implying that they can change or be amended by either individuals or companies investing in it.


One can invest in renewable energy by investing directly in energy projects, buy shares in green energy companies or invest in renewable exchange traded funds.


Some companies in Nigeria provide some of the functions listed above, in order to ensure that investment in any renewable energy sources is seamlessly carried out.

Compliance level

The rate at which individuals and companies are complying with the directives by the Federal Government that Nigerians should try and embrace renewable energy is still relatively low in the country.

Suffice to say that a few institutions are investing in solar energy, coupled with the fact that they are doing so with support from government and other public spirited agencies abroad in order to help minimise the cost of electricity in Nigeria.

In the last few years, states, including Lagos, Oyo and Benue, among others, have invested in solar in order to light up their major roads, hospitals and offices only. This has paled into insignificance, considering the fact that virtually the whole country is battling power outage.


By this, plans by the Federal Government to improve supply of electricity nationwide is far from being achieved.

TotalEnergies’ plans


Reputed to be one of the international oil companies ( IOCs) operating in Nigeria,
TotalEnergies, apart from producing and exploring oil in great proportion in the country, is also considering investment in renewable energy.


The firm had, in 2021, announced plans to invest $60 billion in renew  able programmes in the world in the next 10 years. The period started in 2021 and ends 2030.


Executive Country Manager, Total Country Services, Bunmi Popoola-Mordi, in a virtual interview with the media, said the company was investing $60 billion in renewable energy programmes in Nigeria, in order to accelerate energy transition in the country.


According to her, both existing and new firms in the renewable energy business in Nigeria will benefit from the $60 bilion funds, re-emphasising the fact that the company is committed to the development of renewable energy.

Way Out

Government takes a leading position in the campaign for the development of renewable energy in Nigeria.


This, according to a former Country President, International Association of Energy Economist (IAEE), Prof Adeola Akinnisiju, will help in awakening the consciousness of many Nigerians that the country is potentially rich in the area of renewable energy.

Government, he said, could achieve this goal by enacting policies that will enable people develop and utilise various renewable sources for growth.


He said: “Government should provide incentives for individuals and organisations that are planning to go into renewable business. The incentives can be in terms of reduction in taxes and import duties, among others. The incentives must be well spell out in the renewable policies and implementation.

“When this happens, investments in renewable sources such as solar, wind, coal, biomass, small hydro projects will increase in tandem with the plans of government to boost supply of electricity nationwide.”


Funding, he said, was key to the development of renewable infrastructures in Nigeria, stressing that government had earmarked huge amount of money for such purpose in the 2022 budget.


Akinnisiju urged government to continue to allocate funds for the renewables in order to deepen activities in that segment of the nation’s power sector.


He said that Nigerians, who are living in the rural areas, were about 40 per cent, noting that those people were not connected to the national grid.


According to Akinnisiju, rural dwellers could be connected to the grid through the provision of a stable, reliable and functional electricity, arguing that renewable energy would supply electricity seamlessly.


Meanwhile, the Chief Executive officer, Coalition for Affordable and Regular Electricity (CARE), Chinedu Bosah, has advised government to formulate policies,  which will aid the growth of renewable energy investors, adding that countries such as United States, Canada and others had massively invested in renewable energy programmes and are better for it today, in view of the fact that supply of electricity is regular and cost effective in those climes.

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