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The Energy Commission of Nigeria and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) have recently launched a report titled ‘Renewable Energy Roadmap for Nigeria’ that aims to meet the country’s growing energy needs in sectors through renewables. The report also demonstrates the important role of solar PV in Nigeria’s power supply in meeting the energy demand.
IRENA’s renewable uptake scenario, named the Transforming Energy Scenario (TES), sees the future capacity expansion of electricity in Nigeria will primarily be provided by renewables. The report says that nearly 60% of Nigeria’s energy requirement in 2050 can be achieved via renewable energy.
According to the Renewable Energy Roadmap report, Nigeria has a huge potential for solar energy resources with an average annual global horizontal irradiation value ranging between 1,600 to 2,200 kWh/m2. Under current and planned policies, Nigeria’s utility-scale solar projects can offer 5 GW by 2030 and 25 GW by 2050. Meanwhile, the off-grid solar projects across the country can add 13 GW and 29.5 GW by 2030 and 2050, respectively.
The report exhibits the country’s off-grid market based on solar micro & mini-grids and solar home systems. IRENA estimates the technical potential for solar PV in Nigeria at 210 GW, considering only 1% of the land is suitable to be utilized for solar project development.
Francesco La Camera, IRENA’s Director-General, said Nigeria could provide sustainable energy for all its people in a cost-efficient way using its abundant and untapped renewable energy sources. This would support the country’s socio-economic recovery and development while addressing the challenges of climate change as well as accomplishing energy security.
The standalone solar PV systems are cost-efficient as compared to the conventional diesel and gasoline generators used in Nigeria as power backup. But, there persist several problems related to the adoption of solar PV systems such as higher initial capital outlay, making them unattractive to the low-consumers.
The investment in renewable energy is more cost-effective and has lower operational costs than the conventional path. IRENA’S Energy Transition Scenario has reduced the investment costs than planned policies. It was reduced from an initially planned $1.24 trillion to $1.22 trillion, corresponding to a saving of $1 billion per year.
The energy transition requires a scaling-up of investments in the short-term and avoiding dependency on fossil fuel infrastructures along with natural gas pipelines. Nigeria’s energy transition will help in saving 40% in natural gas and 65% in oil needs by 2050.