The federal government is expanding Nigeria’s Bioenergy and Biofuels potentials where it is directing resources to harness sugarcane based electricity capacities.
LEADERSHIP reports that the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has already secured a $2 million funding facility from the Global Environmental Fund, GEF, to implement a project titled ‘mini-grids based on renewable energy (biomass) to augment rural electrification’ with the objective of promoting renewable energy as an alternative to diesel-based energy generation systems.
This is to help reduce and avoid Green House Gas, GHG emissions from the energy sector in Nigeria.
The project through its four components is expected to develop policy and a conducive market environment, particularly by strengthening financial facilities, and build capacity to replicate RE mini-grids for augmenting rural electrification and productive uses in Nigeria.
Speaking with our correspondent on the sideline of the stakeholders validation Workshop on Bioenergy and Biofuels Potentials Assessment in the Nigeria Sugar Industry in Lagos, Reuben Bamidele, National Programme Officer, of UNIDO, in Nigeria, explained that the objective is to move away from fossil fuel-based energy sources and embracing options that do not contribute to the emissions of Green House Gases.
Bamidele said that it has been proven that one of the key elements to a buoyant and successful economy is adequate energy supply, without which nations will suffer industrialization deficit.
“In Nigeria today, about 85 million people lack access to power from the grid, that is about 43 per cent of the Nigerian population.
“This practically limits the economic potential of the country but one thing is certain, there are options to address this national problem. What we need is the collective will to do it.
The Sugar industry also gives an option to contribute to addressing the problem of energy deficit in Nigeria.” Bamidele said.
LEADERSHIP gathered that UNIDO is collaborating with the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) and Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) to conduct assessments on bioenergy from the Sugar Industry and biofuels for clean cooking.
The world is constantly exploring options to stimulate economic growth and development which to a large extent rest on the extent of development in the energy sector.
With climate change, this process has become more compelling with the dynamisms introduced which necessitate the discovery and even more discoveries of clean energy. As you all know, this has birthed global initiatives like the Paris Agreement, Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All), United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Circular Economy, etc.
Some of the clean energy sources include solar, biomass, small hydro and wind.
Bamidele further said that UNIDO’s activities are tailored towards developing green industries that are resource-efficient and protective of the natural environment and human health.
Through its activities, UNIDO strives to improve competitiveness and access to markets, in tandem with improving their environmental performance.
The UN agency is presently implementing the Nigeria Country Programme which runs from 2018 to 2022 which has Renewable Energy Development and Environmental Management as two stand-alone components out of its nine components.
Bamidele stated that the UNIDO is well positioned to support countries in identifying and addressing emerging energy and environmental issues and we will continue to do this in Nigeria with the support of all of you.
In his presentation at the programme, Director General of the Energy Commission of Nigeria,ECN, Prof. Eli Jidere Bala commended
UNIDO for refusing to give up on its effort to promote “Wastes to Energy (Wealth)” initiative in Nigeria despite the setbacks experienced since 2012.
Bala, who spoke through Engr. Okon Ekpenyong, Director Linkages, Research and Consultancy, stated that the UNIDO-GEF project was designed to demonstrate the conversion of biomass to energy by establishing a 5 Mega Watts, MW rice-husk powered electricity plant, originally planned in Abakaliki within the Ikwo Rice Mill Cluster in Ebonyi State.
Bala however said that at the end, instead of the targeted 5 MW capacity plant, four separate projects of almost 3 MW were executed using a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called Abakaliki Power Plant Limited (APPL) that is currently developing a 1.5 MW capacity of rice husk gasification projects in Ebonyi State comprising of: one unit of 1,000 kW plant in Ikwo and one unit of 500 kW plant in Uburu.
He said UNIDO went further to assess sawmill waste wood generation in Ondo State that investors – Quintas (Renewable Energy Solutions) in Ofosu, Ondo State indicated interest to develop a 200 kW wood waste to energy project, and a 1,000 kW biomass gasification plant by Prado Power Limited in Idanre, Ondo State but unfortunately, both recently were cancelled.
The effort was made to assess the wood waste to energy projects in Ogun State, but could not materialize.
He therefore applauded the decision to assess bagasse generation from sugar-cane as part of the survey of agro wastes in Nigeria by UNIDO.
“In the 1960s, out of sheer need and desire to meet the sugar needs of the country, the Federal Government of Nigeria stepped-up the production of sugar cane with some processing facilities springing up in parts of the country.
“Today, the processing of sugar-cane and other agro produce in the Country has generated considerable amount of wastes that should be converted to useful energy. As you may be aware, Nigeria is blessed with abundant energy resources (fossils and renewables) that can be easily exploited and transformed into electricity, fuels and heat. “ he recalled.
The irony, he continued is that only about 40% of the population of this same resource-rich country is having access to electricity and the proportion of electricity access is even much lower in rural areas.
“For decades, efforts towards addressing this ugly situation had been on fossil fuels without much success.
“But, today, we are here because, we strongly believe in the diversification of the nation’s energy supply mix to include all energy resources in their right proportion for sustainable development.
“This can be achieved by generating electricity within the load centres using energy resources available to them. It is therefore commendable that the UNIDO is investigating the potential of generating electricity from agro-wastes.” he added.