By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Federal Government says plans are on to diversify Nigeria’s energy supply needs to include renewable energy so as to accelerate socio-economic development of the country.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, disclosed this when he declared open the forum on “Scaling-Up Interconnected Mini-Grids Development in Nigeria: Current Status, Challenges and Prospects”, organised by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP-GEF) and the Energy Commission of Nigeria, in Abuja on Tuesday.
Dr Onu said that renewable energy will help the nation meet up its electricity needs in a functional and sustainable manner, adding that it will also improve the quality of life in the country.
Said he: “Nigeria is endowed with substantial energy resources such as coal, crude oil and natural gas; renewables such as hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, waves and tides, as well as biomass”.
“The challenge before us, has always been on how to efficiently transform these resources into adequate and reliable energy for national development using our enormous capacity in science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.
‘‘Since the inception of the present administration in 2015, there had been an increase of electronic power generation capacity at an annual rate of about 390 Mega Watts per year,’’ the Minister said.
He, however, said that the increase, though, commendable, could not adequately meet the needs of our growing population and sustain the desired level of economic development if the supply is not well diversified.
Dr Onu said that Nigeria’s desire to industrialise cannot be realised without adequate power supply, adding that his Ministry is working round the clock to solve this national problem.
He further stated that every effort must be made to ensure that our homes, offices, factories, schools, hospitals and laboratories have adequate reliable and affordable electricity supply.
For him, renewable energy could meet Nigeria’s energy needs in the area of job creation and an improved standard of living in rural areas.
He there posted that the development of solar photovoltaic (Pv) in the country triggered by increase in demand for rural water supply, lighting, health services and micro-enterprise need to be regulated to stimulate private sector participation.