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Nigeria’s Journey Towards Renewable Energy Transition

By Ojugbele Omotunde

Nigeria is in a unique position to spearhead the continent’s shift to renewable energy sources because it has the largest economy and the largest population in Africa.

With its estimated 200 million population, the country is considered a significant economic powerhouse in Africa, but about 45% of the population are said to lack access to reliable, affordable, clean energy. This has made transitioning to renewable energy crucial, especially as it affects environmental and socio-economic development.

Nigeria’s energy sector heavily relies on fossil fuels notably oil and gas, causing environmental and climate change issues, and its small-scale fossil fuel generation is neither sustainable nor efficient. This is despite the abundant gas reserves that the country boasts of.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has noted that renewable energy sources can meet nearly 60% of Nigeria’s energy demand by 2050.

The IRENA also stated that the shift towards renewable energy could create up to 840,000 jobs in Nigeria by 2060, ranging from installation and maintenance roles to positions in renewable energy manufacturing and supply chains.

Nigeria’s energy problems have a potential remedy in renewable energy. It provides a viable means of supplying the nation’s energy demands while fostering job creation and economic progress. Furthermore, the switch to renewable energy is consistent with the goals of sustainable development and the global environment.

In recent years, Nigeria has shown a strong commitment towards a sustainable energy future, as illustrated by its National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy (NREEEP). This program aims to increase the supply of renewable electricity, which can account for 10% of Nigeria’s total energy consumption by 2025.

The Nigerian government has also been proactive in promoting the use of renewable energy. In August 2022, the Federal government launched the National Energy Transition Plan to generate 30,000 MW of electricity from renewable sources and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. The plan also envisaged the creation of up to 340,000 jobs by 2030.

The private sector is also playing a pivotal role in Nigeria’s energy transition with companies like the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) investing in renewable energy projects and infrastructure, which include initiatives that focus on sugarcane fuel ethanol, cassava fuel ethanol, oil palm biodiesel, solar and wind power generation, and emission reduction.

Also, International agencies like the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) have been instrumental in supporting Nigeria’s energy transition. It was reported that IRENA has worked closely with the Energy Commission of Nigeria, providing technical guidance and strategic advice.

Several policy measures have also been implemented to support the energy transition in Nigeria. These include tax credits, capital incentives, and preferential loan opportunities for renewable energy projects.

The Women in Renewable Energy Network project, which aims to enhance the representation of women in the sector also advocates that Nigeria should implement an inclusive energy transition that provides opportunity for women, youth, and marginalized groups.

 

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