BY UDEME CLEMENT
The Federal Government has been advised to put measures in place for massive production of biofuels in the country in order to create more jobs, to make the economy viable for greater growth and development.
The Director General, Green Energy Society of Nigeria (GESON), Mrs. Tokunboh Jakande, told Sunday Vanguard that, green energy is big business in developed economies, adding that Nigeria could create over 500,000 jobs on yearly basis from that sub-sector, if the resources abound are adequately harnessed and fully utilised to explore new business opportunities.
According to her, â€œwhat propels optimum growth in an economy, especially in a developing country like Nigeria is employment creation, which paves way for more revenue generation for the entire economy.Â For Nigeria to achieve its Vision 2020, the prevailing problem of unemployment must be tackled in all ramifications. This implies investing in a sub-sector like green energy where new business windows could be exploredâ€.
Jakande added, â€œGESON is working hand in hand with Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to write off-take agreements on the use of ethanol product in the country. The agreements involve the time that government would make a final pronouncement on the use of ethanol in Nigerian cars. We are looking at 2011 as the year all cars in Nigeria would blend at least 10 per cent ethanol with fossil fuel.â€
The Director General of GESON explained, â€œthe Ministry of Transport, has a lot of work to do in ensuring that cars coming into the country are configured to suit 10 per cent ethanol content and 90 per cent fossil fuel, while commercial motor-cycles popularly known as okoda should have four stroke engines instead of two, to reduce poisonous carbon emission in the environment. Nigeria must embrace modern technology to fast track development like other countries of the world.â€
On what government requires to invest in green economy, she stressed, â€œgovernment should develop feedstock that could be used for production of large quantity of biofuels to reduce the level of fossil fuel consumption in the country.
We must stop importation of ethanol since we can produce it locally to reduce the rate of capital flight from our economy. At present, we are working with Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to ensure that we produce sufficient quantity of ethanol needed for daily consumption in the countryâ€.
Her words:Â â€œ Nigeria is 43 in the world list of emitterâ€™s record because its annual carbon footprint stands at 100 million metric tonnes. This could be reduced drastically, if for instance, we use biomass for electricity production, solar, which is energy generated from the sun, biofuels which consist of bioethanol and also hygro as alternatives to fossil fuel.Â Biofuels production is cheaper than the fossil fuel we consume, but requires large hectares of farm land for cultivation of the feedstock like sweet sorghum, which does not compete with the food chain in any way.
â€œGreen energy could supply the consumption needs globally because solar alone produces 86,000TW and wind about 870TW, while the global consumption rate is not up to what solar energy alone produces. Government and corporate organisations must do something urgently to prevent loss of lives in our environment from cancer, acid rains, fibroid and respiratoryÂ diseases, which result from poisonous carbon emission in the environment.
â€œ Nigeria is the largest consumer of power generators and two stroke engines that contaminate the environment. For instance, 380,000 hectares of farmland are lost annually as a result of global warming.
The desert now moves at the rate of 660m annually and 25 per cent of the Northern states are affected as 15million people are already displaced. 500 communities in the South East are also threatened by gully erosion and 43 per cent of Arabic farmland would be lost in 10 years due to desertification.
Also, there is serious problem of sand-dune encroaching on human habitat since people are cutting trees for firewood and there is nothing to hold the windâ€.
Jakande concluded that the solution is for government to invest massively in green energy production to protect the environment from sudden collapse.