Countries worldwide are recognizing the significant role that renewable energy can play in their national development.
By early 2011, nearly 100 countries had set targets for wind, solar, biomass and other renewable energy sources.
Governments aim to utilize these technologies to meet a host of development priorities, including reducing carbon emissions, expanding energy access, enhancing energy security, and creating new jobs and industry opportunities.
Speaking recently at the opening ceremony of a capacity building workshop in Retscreen Clean Energy Project Analysis in Nigeria organized by UNIDO Regional Centre for Small Hydro Power in Africa (UNIDO-RC-SHP) in collaboration with stakeholders in the Energy sector in Abuja, the UNIDO Representative to Nigeria and Regional Director Africa, Dr. Patrick Kormawa said that there are immense benefit for Nigeria in the renewable energy sector.
He said: “Apart from protecting the environment, the renewable energy brings us to forefront because it is energy that is available everywhere in our continent and we can easily afford it and unlike other natural resources it will not deplete the natural environment because we all have.”
In his remarks, the Acting Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Dr. Mohammed Haruna said that renewable energy presents a good alternative for the nation’s growing energy demand.
He said: “The issues of global warming and climate change, the soaring global electricity demand, the scarcity of fossil fuels and their rising costs make renewable energy exploitation a good alternative.”
“Renewable energy technologies are not only environmental friendly but also proven for providing appreciable alternative energy for satisfying the growing energy demand.”
Haruna posited that Nigeria was blessed with abundant renewable energy potentials such as solar, hydro, wind and biomass.
“Embracing and harnessing these natural resources would significantly enhance national and sustainable developments,” he added.
The acting DG however noted that capacity limitation has been a major challenge for energy development in Nigeria and called for renewed emphasis to access to renewable energy sources. He stated that it was vital for national development.
In his message, the CEO and Managing Director of Bank of Industry (BOI), Ms. Evelyn Opute said that developing cost effective energy was crucial to the nation quest to make progress.
“Generating enough energy, cheaply and putting it effectively into productive use in an environmentally friendly manner is crucial in our national development agenda,” she said.
The BOI helmsman underscored the urgent need to learn and build capacity on renewable energy project analysis.
Oputa said: “The abundance of river, streams in various parts of the country and, the relatively low cost of setting up hydropower projects call for proper harnessing of water resources for hydro electric power.”
According to her: “Building capacity in these and other areas of operation and maintenance will go a long way in ensuring long-lasting provision of self reliance and sustained development.”
Reiterating the bank’s commitment to the energy sector, Oputa represented by the Regional Head, Northern Operations, Abdul Mohammed highlighted that it was working in collaboration with UNIDO to promote small hydro plants across the country.
Mohammed said: “As part of its commitment towards supporting Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), BOI has been working with UNIDO in promoting the establishment of small hydro power plants of 1-5 Megawatts or more, positioned to serve clusters MSMEs across the country.”
He further said that the bank was partnering with some state governments to explore the possibility of generating electricity through harnessing of water resources in those states.
In his remarks, Director General (DG) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) Prof. Abubakar Sambo stated that RETScreen could provide an alternative source of revenue generation for the nation.
He said: “As you may be aware the RETScreen is an Excel-based clean energy project analysis software tool that helps decision makers quickly and inexpensively determine technical and financial viability of potential renewable energy, energy efficiency and cogeneration projects.
“The core of the tools consists of a standardized and integrated clean energy project analysis software that can be used worldwide to evaluate the energy production, life cycle costs and green house emission reductions for various types of renewable energy.”
Sambo noted that the main focus of the training was on RETScreen – Small Hydro Project model which can be used to evaluate the energy production, amongst others, for central-grid, isolated-grid and off-grid small hydro projects.
Delivering his goodwill message, the acting Director General, Directorate of Technical Cooperation in Africa (DTCA), Shuaibu Suleiman said that the directorate saw building skills for better and more efficient performance as one of the tools for Africa’s technological development.
According to him: “A tool like RETScreen software was one that equips for feasibility study for projects at inception to give guide towards the expected results and what was required to get the project done properly and efficiently.”
He noted that the training was coming at a time when Nigeria and the world over lay emphasis on renewable energy in order to prevent environmental degradation and the effect of climate change on the environment.