The Federal Ministry of Power has assured that it would work harder to achieve steady and uninterrupted power supply in Nigerians, in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive.
The ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Godknows Igali, made the pledge during a presentation of the National Renewable Energy Action Plan, National Energy Efficiency Action Plan and Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Action Agenda in Abuja.
According to him, although the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) had, in the last two months raised generation from 3,000 MW to 4,600MW, the presidency has demanded more milestones in the power improvement. “After a presentation on the state of the Power sector to the President, he said ’yes, you are trying, but go and work harder’. And we are now going to work harder to ensure Nigerians get better and reliable light as soon as possible,” Igali disclosed.
The Permanent Secretary further disclosed that the ministry has been discussing with governors on the possibility of exploring solar energy sources, beyond the thermal source. “What we have been discussing with the governors is that we should look beyond thermal sources for our energy. So let land be available: land for investors that want to invest in solar, because solar takes much land. One mega watt takes like one hectare of land or a little below. So land is an issue in many states – availability and access to land. But once it is constructed, it becomes of benefit to everybody,” he said.
According to him, the ministry has urged governors to allow investors easy access when they seek land for solar, instead of frustrating them with bureaucracies. “This is the point we want to discuss with the governors and for them to work with us. When an investor comes, I will send him to his state and he will have to go to the Ministry of Land and they refer him and say go to Governor’s Office and after that they say go and some of these investors become discouraged. So that is what we were discussing and we are getting cooperation from many states.”
Igali noted that for sustainability, the energy mix had to change from mono-dependence on thermal (gas) sources, which have suffered from gas pipeline vandalism. He explained that thermal power sources are more prone to technical losses since the power is trucked across the country through the transmission grid.
But for sustainability and technical efficiency, Igali said the NESI could sustain solar technology with our abundance of sunshine. On the contribution of the European Union and GIZ to the development of renewable energy in Nigeria, Igali said “they are contributing money. The money does not come to us. The money goes directly to the projects. They have chosen five states where they want to work.”
By Olisemeka Obeche