The development of renewable energy is the key to the development of any nation. Since energy has been regarded by many economist and many researchers as the engine that drive the economy of a nation, investment in renewable energy is therefore paramount for any nation to develop.
What is renewable energy? Renewable energy are those sources of energy that can be renewed in themselves. These energy that are rechargeable by natural procedures and their supply is unlimited. It is derived from biomass (waste), sea tides, wind, sea waves, sun, waterways, geothermal among others.
State of Nigeria Power Supply: An overview
The power supply in Nigeria is characterized by chronic power supply outage as a result of the supply of energy failure to match the demand for energy in Nigeria. The Poor state of Nigeria power supply has affected the household and industries in varying degrees. To the household, poor power supply has resulted into:
- Damages of varying degrees of electronics equipment’s and others appliances used in the household. Nigeria is the only oil producing country among the top 10 most power supply failure in the world.
- Experience of several days of dark night without light. In most developing countries like Ghana, South Africa, before power outage the citizens are pre-informed, yet in Nigeria people celebrate when power is supplied.
- Raising cost of living. Most Nigerians would ordinarily afford to buy product (perishable) and keep in their refrigerator but would not because of power supply failure creating additional burden on them.
Poor power failure will affect the firms and industries in the following ways:
- It raises overhead cost. The firms and industries spend a lot of income on fuel to power their plants and offices thereby increasing their cost over time.
- It has crumbled so many small and medium scale enterprises. Due to the high overhead cost most firms and industries which have elastic demand could not survive due to increase in cost of production.
- Due to high overhead cost in the firms and industries most businesses collapse and wind-up causing mass unemployment in the country.
- The poor state of power supply also has contributed to fall in foreign direct investment in Nigeria. The high tariff and the epileptic nature of power supply discourages both local and foreign investors in the country.
The poor energy supply to meet the domestic demand has led most policy makers to suggest that government should look beyond the conventional energy supply that is depletable to renewable energy.
Before you continue have you read my article on causes and solution to economic recession in Nigeria
The question now is why renewable energy instead of the conventional energy sources? Renewable energy important advantages over conventional energy includes:
- Renewable energy can be cheaply and continuously harvested making it a sustainable sources of energy.
- They are clean energy and as such has little or no environmental consequences like other sources of energy.
- There rate of usage does not affect their availability in future, thus they are inexhaustible.
- The resources are generally well distributed all over the world, even though wide spatial and temporal variations occur. Thus all regions of the world have reasonable access to one or more forms of renewable energy supply.
- It is generally cost efficient because of its availability and sustainability in nature and environmental friendly.
- Since renewable energies are always being recharged from natural sources, they have security of supply, not at all like fossil energizes, which are arranged on the global market and subject to universal rivalry.
- Renewable energy can be set up in small units and is therefore suitable for community management and ownership. In Nigeria, this has particular relevance since the electricity grid does not extend to many rural areas and in some cases it is prohibitively expensive to extend the grid to remote areas.
- This presents a unique opportunity to construct power plants closer to where they are actually needed. In this way, much needed income, skill transfer and manufacturing opportunities for small businesses would be injected into rural communities.
- More jobs can be created with renewable energy than with conventional fossil fuel or nuclear industries. With proper integration of renewable energy into Nigeria national development plans, it will reduce green gas emission and increase employment in the country.
- Renewable energy also has the ability to increase energy security by reducing reliance on oil – promoting energy sovereignty.
Having enumerated the key advantages of government investing in renewable energy, let us quickly review some of the types of renewable energy available to us:
Types of Renewable Energy
Wind Energy: This form of energy are clean energy that is usually generated from the winds as it blow on the environment. Such energy can be converted into mechanical energy for performing various works such as generating electricity, pumping water, grinding grain, etc. Wind energy is often generated with turbines.
Turbines are being used to generate electricity in countries such as Germany, Denmark, India, China, and the United States to supplement more conventional sources of electric power.
Design improvements such as more efficient rotor blades combined with an increase in the numbers of wind turbines installed, have helped increase the world’s wind energy generating capacity by nearly 150 percent.
Given the diversities of Nigeria, the country possess enormous potential to develop energy from the wind for electricity generation. It is suitable for power generation in remote places where energy is needed but costly to connect to a central source especially in the rural areas.
Solar Energy: It is clean energy derived directly from the sun. Solar energy can be collected using artificial devices called solar collectors. The energy collected can be used either in a thermal process or a photoelectric (photovoltaic) process. When used in a thermal process, solar energy is used to heat a gas or liquid.
In the photovoltaic process, solar energy is converted directly to electrical energy without intermediate mechanical devices. Nigeria is blessed with enormous solar radiation that can be harnessed.
Geothermal Energy: Geothermal energy is the energy gotten from the heat that originates from the earth crust. Report shows that in 2004, over 9,000 mega watts of electricity were produced from 250 geothermal power plants in 22 countries around the world.
There are two major geothermal energy resource sites presently known in Nigeria. They are Ikogosi Warm Spring in Ondo State and the Wikki Warm Spring in Bauchi State. Nigeria has huge potentials to develop renewable energy from thermal sources.
Biomass Energy: This energy gotten from the organic waste in the country. There is a very huge potential for renewable energy for Nigeria in this regards. Every part of the country has high degree of organic waste that could be properly harnessed to produce healthy and clean environment.