There is no doubt to the fact that renewable energy resource remains fundamental to human activities. According to (Glossary of Environmental Statistics, 2007) renewable energy resources are described as those natural resources that, after exploitation, can return to their previous stock levels by natural processes of growth or replenishment. Renewable resource like solar energy, hydro-power, wind power and biomass from agricultural products are all important aspect of sustainability that can replenish and overcome usage and consumption through either biological reproduction or natural occurring processes.
In my home country Nigeria, the drive towards a sustainable renewable energy source could be tagged to still be in its nascent stage as the only source of renewable energy in the country is mainly hydro-power and biomass. Wind and solar energy have only been deployed in minimal amount.
Overtime, environmentalists, activists as well as energy and environmental enthusiasts have identified major renewable energy sources available across the country. In the Northern part of Nigeria like as Kano, Sokoto and Borno states, solar and wind energy have been identified as being a potential for generating power due to the high temperatures from daily insolation and clear skies associated with the region. In the Southern part of the country such as delta, Lagos and Rivers states, ocean energy and wind power have been tagged as an energy potential due to the coastal uniqueness of the southern part of the country which bounds the Atlantic Ocean.
Meanwhile, with such untapped wealth of renewable resource at our disposal here in Nigeria, not much has been done to exploit these Gods given resources. The government of Nigeria has not been driven so far to enact and back up policies that can develop and manage these free resources sustainably. Unfortunately, factors ranging from huge expenditure required, lack of technical competence, corruption and lack of the willpower from respective stakeholders and policy makers have been pointed as being the major cause of setback.
Also, the policy framework on renewable resource as established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2003, which is well outlined, has not been able to achieve most of its objectives. The fact that only about 40% of the countrys over 140 million inhabitants have access to electricity (Okafor, et.al, 2010) is enough to propel the policy makers into striving to compliment the dwindling power problem with the non renewable resource which is in abundant from the Northern desert to the Southern coastlands and from the Western uplands to the Eastern scarplands.
However, with the new government in Nigeria, and with the appointment of a new minister for environment in the person of Mrs Amina Mohammed, there have been gradual progress to go green in the energy sector with the creation of a Department of Climate Change within the ministry and the establishment of the Great Green Wall and Shelter Belt Project in some front-line northern states (Gombe, Kebbi, Sokoto, Bauchi jigawa and Kano). These and many other initiatives will no doubt lead to the promotion of alternative renewable sources of energy. Nevertheless, much is still needed to be done.
Conclusively, I believe there is need for more volunteers, environmental and renewable energy advocates, law makers and stakeholders to further create a body that can advise the government of Nigeria into diverting from the current non renewable energy resource (fossil fuel) which has caused more damage than harm in form of oil spillage and gas flaring which occurs daily in the Niger Delta area of the country. This is important so as to mitigate to the lowest minimum the effect of greenhouse gases that are generated from the conventional non renewable resources. In addition, Nigeria needs to develop green technologies and create the enabling environment for interested investors that can help tap and develop these resources.
Furthermore, Nigeria being a signatory to several international conventions on climate change must reduce her emission by embracing the generation of energy from the aforementioned renewable resources which is abundant all over the country as its availability will not only improve the energy sector but will also develop the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy and in turn lead to economic growth and development.
Glossary of Environmental Statistics, Studies in Methods. Series F, No 67, United Nations, New York, 1997.
Okafor, E.C.N, and Joel,-Uzuegbu, C.K.A (2010) Challenges to Development of Renewable Energy for Electric Power Sector in Nigeria. International Journal of Academic Research. Vol. 292): pp 211-216.
Renewables 2007 Global Status Report, REN 21 (Paris) and World watch institute (Washington, DC), page 41