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100% renewable energy achievable in West Africa by 2050

Published by The Nation on Thu, 23 May 2019

Nigeria and other members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) can adopt renewable energy 100 per cent by 2050, a report by the Energy Watch Group (EWG) and the Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (LUT) has said.The report entitled: Global energy system based on 100 per cent renewable energyformed the crux of a conference organised by Power Utility Week and Power Green Africa in Cape Town, South Africa.The event was sponsored by ROSATOM Central Africa and Southern Africa, EWG, a German-based research firm, and LUT, a Finland-owned institution.The report, EWG and LUT, said would form a blueprint for transiting from fossil fuel to renewable energy in the West African sub-region and to make its countries understand the task of boosting production of solar and other renewable energy in the next 30 years.Sub-Sahara Africa, the report, said could lower renewable energy cost, provide health care and create jobs, it adopts renewable 100 per cent.The report said: The energy sector in Sub-Saharan Africa can become 100 per cent renewable by 2050, a development, which would bring about lower energy costs, improve better health services, environment and the number of direct energy jobs from 1.2milliion to five million in the region. An accelerated scaling of wind energy and a decentralised solar Photovoltaic (PV) energy can, in combination with electrification of transport, heating and deployment of batteries and other storage technologies, result in a phase-out of fossil fuels in Africa within 2050.But, the founder, Change Partners International, Mr Arachukwu Okafor, said the issue of providing renewable energy 100 per cent by West African countries depend on some factors.He said the problems differ from one country to another, arguing that the problems facing Nigerias power sector might be different from Ghana.Okafor, an energy expert and a participant at the conference, said for this reason it is not possible to apply one method to solve all the energy problems.Okafor said: While some countries have technological problems, the problems in Nigeria are not. I can tell you that the problems facing the sector in Nigeria are political and not technological.Since 1961, successive Nigerian governments have been saying that the country would not experience blackout again. So far, the country is yet to proffer solution to its energy problems. If, for instance, Nigeria is given $100billion to solve the problems facing its electricity market, the money may not be enough to solve the problems. The challenges in the power sector, ditto its market, are enormous and require analysis.He said it was not possible to order producers of renewable energy to charge tariffs that are equal to the ones charged by firms that are producing gird electricity.Also, the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN) President, Mr Segun Adaju, said the report was timely and encouraging. He said it is high time Nigeria and other countries in Africa took proactive steps to solve their energy crises.Adaju, also the Chief Executive officer, Consistent Energy Limited, urged the Federal Government to speed up the process of producing renewable energy, with a view to meet the power needs of more than 170 million Nigerias population. He said funding is required to produce renewable energies 100 per cent in Nigeria and other countries in West Africa.The Federal Government targets 30 per cent renewable by year 2030, while the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria is targeting 40 per cent the same year. 100 per cent renewable by 2050 is dependent on many factors including access to finance, he added.
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