May 4, 2018 Read More →

Oil-Rich Nigeria Looks to Renewables to Meet Massive Electricity Needs

Reuters:

Faced with a population boom that has sent carbon emissions soaring and stretched power supplies to breaking point, oil-rich Nigeria is turning to renewable energy in a big way.

Africa’s most populous country needs more than 10 times its current electricity output to guarantee supply for its 198 million people—nearly half of whom have no access at all, according to power minister Babatunde Fashola. Nigeria has set a target of expanding electricity access to 75 percent of the population by 2020 and 90 percent by 2030.

It aims to generate 30 percent of its total energy from renewable sources by 2030, Fashola said in a recent speech in London, a major commitment for an economy that depends heavily on fossil fuels. Oil and gas production account for around 35 percent of Nigeria’s gross domestic product and about 90 percent of total exports revenue, according to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Over the past year, the country has invested more than $20 billion in solar power projects, seeking to boost the capacity of the national grid and reduce reliance on it by building mini-grids in rural areas without mains electricity. [For example,] a $350 million World Bank loan will be used to build 10,000 solar-powered mini-grids by 2023 in rural areas, bringing power to hospitals, schools and households, said Damilola Ogunbiyi, managing director of the Rural Electrification Agency.

The government [also] is investing in hydropower, with several projects close to completion. The largest is the Mambilla Power Station in central Nigeria, a $5.79 billion project due to be completed in 2024 with most of the financing coming from Chinese lenders. It will be able to generate 3,050 MW of renewable energy in the rural region, and is scheduled to be completed in 2024.

More: Oil-Rich Nigeria Turns To Renewable Energy As Population Booms

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