In recent years, there have been growing global concerns about the high usage of fossil fuels and the detrimental impact they have on our environment.
Nigeria, the powerhouse of Africa, known for its economic prowess, gigantic population, and abundant natural resources has reached a dilemma concerning its energy future.
The country’s quest for economic development, the rising demand for electricity, environmental concerns and reliance on fossil fuels, call for the need to shift towards renewable energy sources.
In this article, I am going to explore some reasons Nigeria should embrace renewable energy for a sustainable future. But before we delve into that, let’s have a brief insight into what the term, ‘renewable energy’ is all about.
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What is Renewable Energy?
The proffering of a definition is dependent on the perspective from which a concept is viewed. Owing to this, renewable energy has no particular widely accepted definition.
However, according to the International Energy Agency, ‘renewable energy is the energy derived from natural processes that are replenished constantly.’ Simply put, renewable energy refers to energy derived from regenerative sources other than fossil fuels. Unlike fossil fuels, these sources produce little or no greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants.
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4 Common Sources of Renewable Energy
Some common renewable energy sources include:
This is the energy obtained from the sun’s radiation. It can be transformed into electricity through solar panels on rooftops and solar farms.
An example of developed countries transitioning to renewable energy sources, especially the utilization of solar energy is China. China has emerged as the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer and installer, accounting for nearly half of the global solar capacity.
This is the energy (in the form of kinetic energy) obtained from water, e.g., rivers and dams. It can generate a substantial amount of power while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.
Nigeria is blessed with many water systems. Examples include the Kainji Dam Hydroelectric Power Station on the River Niger, the Shiroro and Jebba Dams, and the Mandila Dam, which its first phase was commissioned in April 2007.
This has emerged as one of the most innovative sources of renewable energy. Countries where winds are stronger have shown interest in the potential use of wind energy.
An example is Denmark, a nation primarily known for its flat terrain, coastal areas, and strong winds. Denmark has harnessed these natural attributes to become a leader in wind power generation.
Research has shown that wind turbines dominate the Danish landscape, contributing over 50% of the country’s total electricity consumption.
This is the energy obtained from biomass such as wood, forest, agricultural residues, energy crops and organic matter. These products can be utilized to produce bioenergy through processes like combustion.
Why Nigeria Should Embrace Renewable Energy for a Sustainable Economy
The following are certain reasons Nigeria should consider embracing renewable energy for a sustainable economy:
There is no doubt that Nigeria, like many other countries of the world, is facing the urgent need to address environmental concerns. Transitioning to renewable energy can significantly mitigate Nigeria’s environmental challenges.
By reducing reliance on energy sources derived from fossil fuels, the country can combat air and water pollution, climate change and global warming, reduce carbon emissions, and improve public health outcomes.
This shift would positively impact the lives of Nigerians by checkmating respiratory illnesses, promoting a cleaner and greener environment, as well as enhancing overall well-being.
Diversification of energy sources and increased energy security
Since the discovery of crude oil, Nigeria has always relied heavily on fossil fuel imports, making the energy sector vulnerable to the volatility of global oil markets.
By embracing renewable energy, Nigeria can take control over energy security by reducing its dependence on fossil fuels and foreign energy sources. For example, investing in diversified renewable energy sources like solar, wind, biomass, and hydroelectric power will enable the country to diversify its energy mix.
This can also buffer the economy against the price fluctuations and tensions of the world oil market.
Renewable energy sources like solar panels on rooftops, once installed, offer long-term cost-effectiveness. This is unlike the expenses associated with fossil fuel extraction, transportation, and price extraction.
Increased electricity supply options
Nigeria is a significantly diverse country, both geographically and demographically. Although the country generally uses hydro-energy as a source of electricity supply and gives room for solar energy, access to electricity is still a challenge in many remote areas.
Embracing more renewable energy sources like wind energy and bioenergy would provide a unique opportunity to extend electricity access to more communities.
Supply of fossil fuel energy sources such as coal, oil and natural gas are finite. On the other hand, energy sources such as sunlight, wind and falling water are renewable. Therefore, they can be sustained over a relatively long term.
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As the world grapples with the detrimental consequences of fossil fuel consumption, renewable energy presents an innovative solution for a greener future. Nigeria will surely benefit immensely from embracing renewable energy.
However, if Nigeria intends to fully unlock the benefits of renewable energy resources, then it is important to resolve the loopholes in the environmental laws. A legislative framework must also be set up to implement these technologies and policies.
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Edited by Priscilla Ajayi.
Joshua Yemi Omoifo is researcher, lover of words and freelance writer.
Despite being a law undergraduate, his love for content writing and marketing has led him into acquiring professional digital skills and certifications which include Keyword Research, Content Marketing & SEO certification at Semrush Academy, certified Email Marketing Specialist at Hubspot Academy and certified Digital Marketing Expert at Google Digital Garage.
He is always looking for ways to improve his writing skills and aspires to someday have his work appear in big publications like Forbes, AARP Magazine, Cosmopolitan, TIME Magazine and The New York Times, to name a few.