PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on September 24, 2019 in New York during the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, expressed Nigeria’s hope to have at least 30 per cent of its total electricity supply from renewable sources by 2030. Also, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, re-echoed the hope recently at the inauguration of a 1.12MW Solar Hybrid Project at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi.
The hope, inappropriately called a plan, is aimed at providing solution to Nigeria’s epileptic power supply, and at the same time reduce Nigeria’s carbon footprint.
Government has, however, not followed up this commendable idea with any concrete roadmap that would lead to the realisation of such a dream.
Fortunately, there are quite a number of countries trudging on the road of renewable energy revolutions from which Nigeria can learn.
In 2009, by aggressively increasing its reliance on green energy, the United States of America under President Barack Obama had projected that 25 per cent of its electricity would be generated from renewable energy sources by 2025.
As at 2019, it stagnated at 11.4 per cent, no doubt due to his successor, President Donald Trump’s open contempt for renewable energy.
Matching words with actions, USA (by far the greatest emitter of climate-damaging carbons among the industrialised countries) was investing $112 billion in green technology with the main focus on improving hybrid vehicles and research into high-performance batteries. Hybrid vehicle is a technology in which electric motor supports an internal combustion engine.
Similarly, carbon-free Germany by 2050, a plan vigorously pursued by renowned German environmentalists like Jurchen Flasbarth supported by their federal government, is also anchored on huge investments in renewable energy, legislations and incentives, not wishful thinking.
As early as 2009 in Germany, there were 66 sections of Renewable Energy Act known as EEG, which guaranteed market access and minimum prices to producers of energy from sun, wind, water and biomass. The EEG was instrumental in making Germany, which has relatively little sunshine, the world leader in solar-power generation up to 2014, and the third in wind power.
China, which attracted global mass manufacturing influx due to its cheap labour costs, is also very ambitious in pursuing the green energy revolution.
Between 2008 and 2012, China was at the top of the ladder in clean energy investment. Its Renewable Energy Law passed in 2005 prioritised renewable energy usage in its energy development plan. Subsequently, in 2017, China announced a plan to invest £291 billion in renewable energy by 2020 as well as a continuous movement away from fossil fuel.
Today, China, USA and India, in that order, are world leaders in the renewable energy revolution.