Renewable Energy Debate

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The National Power Training Institute of Nigeria and the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission disagree on whether embedded power generation is the way out of Nigeria’s recurrent power shortages

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Sep. 15, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT  |

CAN embedded power generation be the way out of the recurrent power shortages in the country? The National Power Training Institute of Nigeria, NAPTIN and the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, are sharply divided on the issue.  Whereas Reuben Okeke, director-general, NAPTIN, believes that renewable energy will not offer succour that would effectively grow Nigeria’s economy, Sam Amadi, chairman, NERC, argues that embedding is the future of the electricity industry.

Okeke, who spoke at the annual conference of the National Association of Energy Correspondents, NAEC, said renewable energy “is an aggressive marketing strategy of the western countries who are looking for markets for their products. Globally, everybody seems to play down on gas because of emission. Everybody seems to play down on the use of coal, because the western nations are campaigning against it. But it is not in our favour. Recently, Germany wooed us with a huge amount of money to embark on renewable energy in the country namely solar, wind, turbines, etc. for us to reduce emission. But our economy is still at a low ebb. There is no way our economy will grow with renewable energy, no matter what it is, because we need the megawatts, MW, in quantum.

“We have a target of getting 40,000MW by 2020. Out of that, 1,000MW according to the road map, will come from renewable energy. It is all strange to get 100 percent from renewable compared to conventional energy. Our economy cannot grow until we have these megawatts in quantum. Renewable energy cannot give it to us. The developed countries are just looking for where to dump their products. They do not want us to grow. They want us to take carbon credit. That is if we are spending $10 million to produce 1MW from conventional energy, we are ready to give you $50 million to let you use your gas or coal,” he said.

Amadi
Amadi

According to Okeke, Nigeria must not abandon its God-given resources due to pressure from the west. “Why must we abandon our God-given natural resources? Israel till now is almost 100 percent on coal. They still import coal. South Africa is also on coal. Not harnessing our natural endowment properly has impeded our growth as a nation. If there is anything we can do for this gas master plan to be implemented appropriately, it will be welcome so that our megawatts can grow. The present administration is doing well in that direction. There are new generating plants coming into the national grid. If you check out transmission, you can see the number of transformers that have been commissioned. About 224 distribution injection sub-stations are ready that once these things are there, we can spring from our 4,000MW to 20,000 MW, but there is no gas.”

Amadi has a contrary opinion. While presenting license for embedded power generation to Isa Yuguda, Bauchi State governor, the NERC chairman insisted that embedded generation is a project that should be emulated and executed by others. “We present this project as a model to other state governors. We have certified all environmental issues on the project. We feel happy about it. It is the vision of the industry to generate sufficient power for all,” he said.

Amadi said that the embedded generation would also be a useful means of dedicating power to a particular state and local government, eligible customers and others. According to him, “the NERC is not exempting anybody, as all are qualified to be beneficiaries. Embedded generation is a project that should be emulated and executed by others.”

Embedded electricity generation is a situation whereby the generator provides power directly through the distribution networks. This consists of smaller or modular generators that use a variety of technologies, such as solar, wind, biomass, diesel, fuel oils, low pour fuel oil, LPFO, high pour, high pour fuel oil, HPFO, crude oil, small hydro.

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