Nigeria diversifies search for adequate power supply

Oct 25, 2007 02:00 AM

The federal government has commissioned a consultant to undertake the offshore wind resource study just as it announced that the onshore wind resource mapping for the country has recently been concluded, all in its bid to provide adequate energy to the citizenry.
The minister of state for energy in charge of power, Mrs Fatima Balaraba Ibrahim, who announced this in Abuja in her key note address to the International Renewable Energy Conference (IREC), noted with satisfaction that the resource map indicates that Nigeria is blessed with a good number of zones with viable wind speeds of up to 6.5 miles per second which is suitable for the generation of electricity.

She stated that wind forms, in the MW class, are therefore being planned for implementation as pilot schemes across the country, adding that it is expected that such projects would be replicated by investors and other tiers of government, not only for rural access to electricity but for the national grid.
The minister held that Nigeria is blessed with a vast potential for generating power from small hydros and that government has collaborated with UNIDO to establish a regional centre for small hydros.

"The centre which is located in Abuja, is expected to provide technical support and capacity-building for the utilisation of small and mini-hydros in Nigeria and the entire west African sub region. I am pleased to note that the centre has recently initiated moves to collaborate in upgrading the facilities at ARCEDEM for the local manufacture of components thereby lowering the barrier to entry for this exciting and appropriate technology", she added.
Balaraba used the opportunity to announce that government also recently completed the master plan on the utilisation of solar energy which was fully financed by the Japan international cooperation agency. The study, she pointed out, has clearly articulated a long term vision and action plan that would enable the nation take maximum advantage of solar energy, thus creating an appropriate framework for private sector and community-led utilisation of solar energy.

The minister stressed that the ministry would endeavour to make the report available for all stakeholders for collaborative implementation of viable projects. She said Nigeria is also poised to take advantage of many other possibilities of diversifying the technology mix for power generation.
According to her, government has just concluded a detailed report outlining a 10-year renewable energy policy guideline and that appropriate action plan for implementing the recommendations contained therein, explaining that the broad objective of this programme is to expand rural and remote access to electricity, using non-conventional energy sources such as solar, wind, mini-hydro and bio-mass.

The thrust of the implementation plan, she went on, would be driven by the rural development plans of states and local governments while the federal government focuses its resources on the on-going resuscitation of the nation's power infrastructure. Balaraba posited that the cost of doing business and the national effort to combat poverty are obviously dependent on the availability of adequate and reliable power supply.
"In this regard, new strategies to accelerate the provision of electricity must be pursued to achieve the developmental target set by NEEDS and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and that to facilitate this requires aggressive deployment of grid connected, mini-grid and stand-alone renewable electricity systems in the country. Therefore, in consideration of the environment and energy security for the country, the diversification of the nation's technology mix for power generation becomes imperative", she contended.

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