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Cpanel

19September2017

With the increased need for energy, it’s time to consider renewable energy sources


On the October 2 2013, Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved a new automotive policy.  Under the new policy, procurement of all vehicles should be from local assembly plants except when the vehicles required are not produced in Nigeria. The policy is intended to lead to a gradual stoppage of the importation of foreign fairly-used vehicles into the country. To encourage investors and assure them that there will be no sudden reversal of the government’s position, the new policy is to be backed by appropriate legislation.

While the populace and automobile industry stakeholders continue to express divergent opinions on the policy, especially the potential increase in acquisition cost of vehicles if governments phase out the importation of fairly-used vehicles, some vehicle manufacturers believe that over the medium term, the policy will help to push price of cars down by 40%. Assuming we accept this theory, then we need to start to prepare for other implications of this scenario. Low acquisition costs would lead to increased demand for cars and more importantly demand for fuel. There will also be a rise in the number of road users leading to increased need for road rehabilitations and constructions. In addition, most of the power generating plants in Nigeria uses fuel from petroleum (oil & gas) which shortage at most times has been blamed for low level of power generation. With the reform of the sector and the eventual privatisation, it would be appropriate to consider alternative energy sources.

 

Alternative energy sources in the North Western Nigeria

As a source of large scale solar energy and bioethanol, Nigeria’s North West region provides an unrivalled opportunity for in the provision of renewable energy sources for both economic and political reasons. The region has the hottest weather in the country with temperature of up to 450C in Sokoto, Kebbi and Kano States. The establishment of a plant in these areas that can store and covert the scotching sunlight into energy for power generation would be a good idea. Although may be costlier that gas-powered plants, it is more efficient and renewable. According to scientists, energy sources from the sun are expected to supply energy to the earth for another one billion years.

There have been attempts to establish bioethanol plants in Katsina and Kaffanchan but were not successful due to management challenges. Since the proposed communities have been prepared and some of the farmers have engaged in sugar cane farming, it would be easier to locate bioethanol plants in such areas. In addition, farming is more large scale in the Northern region of the country; hence the needed raw materials will be available.

A well planned and implemented alternative energy programme could be a larger source of energy to the country and rival oil and gas as the largest income earner for Nigeria.

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