Apparently galvanized by the recent declaration of the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon that the world can no longer burn its way to global prosperity, the Nigeria government seems to be waking up to reality. The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr Ibe Kachikwu emphasized the need for Nigeria to give serious consideration to renewable energy as the solution to its energy challenges.
Kachikwu was obviously positioning the country to follow the trend in the world direction. Ki-moon had said that, “We all know that renewable energy is limitless and will last forever. It offers us great security and peace of mind,” he added. “Costs have come down so quickly that it is now often the cheapest option. And the more renewable energy facilities we build, the cheaper they will become.”
Renewable energy and climate change were the two issues on the top of the list at the World Future Energy Summit currently holding in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where almost every country has promised to adopt global standards on climate change and solar energy systems. That explains why Kachikwu acknowledged that crude oil and gas, Nigeria’s mainstays are exhaustible resources. And so, for him, the best way to make energy accessible to Nigerians in every nook and cranny of the country is to exploit renewable energy sources.
“We need to refocus a lot more effectively on alternative energy resources, particularly solar energy. There is really no reason why countries like Nigeria should not have more of its power supply from solar sources. President Buhari is very focused on this. This is something we are going to apply a lot more energy to in the days ahead”, Kachikwu stated, adding that, “We can produce crude and fire gas, but ultimately, the only way to sustainably reach every nook and cranny and every citizen of our country with some level of power supply is to look towards natural sources such as solar, wind, and water resources. Solar used to be very expensive but the cost is dramatically coming down,” he said. Experts had called on West Africa to adopt the measure as a way of coming out of power challenges in the continent. For many, solar is already a viable alternative to traditional carbon based and nuclear thermal power plants.
There is however the fear in some areas that full implementation of the initiative would pose strong competition to the petroleum sector, but Kachikwu said it would instead complement it, as petroleum alone could not meet the huge energy needs of the country.