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Stakeholders canvass off-grid power solutions

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Stakeholders in the energy sector have advanced renewable energy sources as effective solutions to the myriads of problems confronting Nigeria’s power system. 

Faced with epileptic power supply, and with the national grid collapsing persistently despite privatising the sector, stakeholders insisted that development of off-grid power distribution solution, or standalone power system will open up the sector to more investment opportunities from within and outside the country, thereby contributing to economic productivity and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.

They spoke in Abuja on Tuesday at a Smart Energy Forum on Renewable energy organised by Wartsila Marine and Power services.

With other challenges such as vandalism, metering, ineffective power generation and distribution, experts said the power deficit can be tackled by embracing other sources of power generation. 

Predicting that renewable alternatives such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric would become the largest sources of energy by 2050, stakeholders expressed fear that unless with proper planning and policy, Nigeria may be left behind. 

The Strategic Sourcing Director, Power and Gas, Lafarge Holcim, Lanre Opakunle, noted that the power sector is in a logjam, with generation and distribution companies not operating effectively. 

He said: “There is a kind of logjam in the whole power sector and we need to pick it one after the order. A lot of power plants are idle, and at the same time, DisCos are rejecting power load. We need to find a mechanism to make the sector liquid enough, to make the Discos survive and GenCos.

“We must believe that the country can catch up with the world on renewable energy. If we believe it can work, investment would come in that direction. It is possible. However, I don’t think we can reach 100 per cent renewable energy but we can reach a mix where you will have a balance of renewable and thermal.

That way you will be able to optimise the whole system. I have strong believe that very soon it will pick up. Many African countries are moving closer. It is not about the government but the people. The people will force the government.”

An energy expert with Detail Commercial Solicitors, Dolapo Kukoyi, urged Nigeria not to focus only on access to power but having power with a little shut down. 

“The power sector is not suffering for lack of solutions; we need concerted efforts of stakeholders to improve the sector. Government needs to reduce its intervention in the sector. 

“There are plans and policies on ground for the country to leverage renewable energy sources, and Government is making a committed effort to push up its plan. We need to follow it in a manner that is systematic, which means that everybody needs key into the vision.” 

Managing Director, Wartsila Nigeria, Wale Yusuff, explained that there is a need for renewable energy integration to meet the growing energy demand.

He said the firm is leading the transition towards a 100 per cent renewable energy future, saying: “As an energy system integrator, we understand, build, design and serve optimal power systems for future generations.”


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