On an exemplary note, Lagos State Government recently rose from its 2012 energy summit and sworn to tackle the problem of electricity that tends to portray the country as that is in covenant with darkness.
One of the novel ways the state government hopes to go about it is to explore electricity production projects that would help the state realise its ambitious target of realising 400megawatts of electricity fuelled from renewable energy sources by 2022.
To make the Lagos renewable energy projects one to watch in the country, the Lagos State government has come up with a document for the development of renewable energy policy for energy generation in the state.
The decision to embark on the project that would attract both local and global attention with effect from 2013 is fuelled by the presence of abundance of renewable energy sources in the state.
Fortunately, the project has been given the needed impetus following the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) approval that state governments now have the ability to provide electricity for their states, by reaching an agreement with the relevant distribution company.
By this arrangement the state will make a contribution to the capital expenditure required to rehabilitate or expand the electricity network within that state.
Experts believe that the efficacy of the project is not in doubt because the total daily solid waste collection capacity of all the waste collection agencies in metropolitan Lagos revolves between 4,237 and 6,360 tonnes, given the average per capita waste generation in the state, which stood at 0.53 kg with a population estimate of 14.314 million.
Though undisputed as the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria, Lagos State is one the smallest states in size with a land area of 3,600 square km. The state is blessed with abundant garbage collected through sanitation and general cleaning of the environment and this has capacity to generate energy.
Thus, energy expert, Mauruzo Bedei who is the country representative of Coomi Trade Sarl, a firm which specialises in the technology of converting wastes to energy, told LEADERSHIP that conversion of municipal wastes to energy could solve problem of power supply in the state.
He noted that the country could benefit from waste generated by its huge population, pointing out that most developed countries in Europe with lesser population see waste as an essential commodity useful for other purposes.
According to him, "Waste to most European countries is gold. Italy, for instance, is a small country that produces waste though not as much as Nigeria but utilises technology to convert the waste to power.
“There are 100 of such factories converting waste to energy. Germany, on the other hand, produces less waste but has had to buy waste from Italy. It is not unusual to see train full of wastes moving from Italy to Germany who does not have enough waste to generate electricity.
He added that the mountain of wastes in states like Lagos alone could be converted to electricity to boost the national grid.
Project statistics available to LEADERSHIP showed that the state government has set a targets to realise 2.5per cent of its energy needs from renewable sources by the end of 2013, five per cent by the end of 2014; 15 per cent by the end of 2016 and 30 per cent by the end of 2030.
As the project progress, the state government is also planning to enact a number of fiscal and regulatory measures designed to incentivize residents of the state to use renewable energy.
While raising awareness of the residents on the benefits of renewable energy, a source said that efforts are in top gear to attract the attention of local and foreign investors to the limitless opportunities available in the sector in Lagos State.
Already, a consortium of American firms in partnership with a US-based Nigerian engineer are proposing the first waste- to-energy project in West Africa to be sited in Lagos.
In a move that has secured the nod of the state government, the US companies have signed the Letter-of-Intent (“LOI”) to pursue the engineering, design, procurement and construction of the Bamgbelu 60 Mw W aste-To-Electricity (Wte) facility project to be located at the Ikorodu Industrial Complex near Bamgbelu Village, in Lagos State.
According to Dr. Akinpelu Shogunle the Nigerian engineer involved, the project when completed would generate 60 Mw ultra-high temperature gasification from a waste-fired electric generating plant at Bamgbelu Village.
Shogunle assured that the implementation of the waste-fired resource generation facility project at the Lagos State Industrial Park, near Bamgbelu Village “would mark the first of such successful launching of a renewable energy, waste-fired electricity production project of its kind in Sub-Saharan West Africa in general and Nigeria in particular.”
He explained that some of the US firms involved in the project include the Shaw Group International, a major power generation facility constructor known across the world.
However, the state government is yet to make any concrete financial commitment on the project but it has continued to woo more private investors into the energy sector to explore the abundant renewable sources and thereby reduce the burden on the national grid.
LEADERSHIP gathered from top government officials that other sources that the state is likely to tap electricity from apart from waste, solar, wind, among others.
The Governor of Lagos State Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has affirmed that his government was committed to bringing innovative cleaner and greener solutions to the state’s energy requirements, and encourage the use of renewable clean energy solutions to generate power.
Fashola, said that the initiative was one of the ways the administration plans to make Lagos State a global economic and financial hub, through the development of a sustainable energy strategy.
The governor explained that sources of energy is of great importance in any economy, pointing out that Lagos in which at least 60 per cent of all commercial activities in the country take place, is no exception.
According to the governor, “We are focused on the reality that if our population of over 18 million people is to have access to affordable and sustainable energy options, then we must choose the path which leads in that direction.
“Lagos State is blessed with enough resources to revolutionise our economic and social lives through a programme of renewable energy that is a viable alternative to petroleum products.”
Fashola said that if technological advancements are properly applied within the context of the nation’s rich deposits of natural energy resources, it could significantly reduce dependence on conventional fuels and ensure a cleaner environment.
Expressing optimism in the imperatives of renewal energy projects being considered by the state government, the Lagos State commissioner for energy Mr. Taofiq Ajibade Tijani, said that the ministry is working closely with other ministries and stakeholders to develop a robust and detailed renewable energy policy for the state.
According to him, “We, in the ministry, believe this policy is long overdue as the desire to achieve a mega city status must be supported by ‘green initiatives’ such as having a clean energy projects spectrum in the state.”
Tijani emphasised that the renewable option is capable of generating hundreds of thousands of job opportunities, while helping to solve problem of black out in the state.
With the issue of alternative energy assuming a global dimension, as more nations become aware of the imminent danger to the planet, from years of exploration and exploitation of fossil fuels, including coal, petroleum and natural gas majority of the scientists favour renewable energy as the best form of electricity production.