Abuja- Prof Jere Bala, the Director-General of the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) said the commission had partnered some international agencies for the domestication of new technologies on the development of renewable energy in Nigeria.
Bala said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja.
He said the foreign agencies were African Energy Commission, International Energy Organisation and International Renewable Energy Agency.
He said the commission had been liaising with the agencies to ensure the development of sustainable energy as well as domestication of new technology best practices in Nigeria and Africa.
The D-G said the partnership was essential as Nigeria would derive benefit of best practices through the agencies new wide quality technology.
Bala said they were able to develop solar energy as source of power in Africa through building of super grinds used in transmitting power tapped from the sun in sub-Sahara African.
Bala said the supper grind on renewable energy was in the North African, the Central African transmission grind and West Africa.
“We have been able to use some of our energy demand and projection studies that we have done in Nigeria to integrate it in the Africa energy demand and supply.
“We worked on the development of biofuel in Africa. We had workshop in 2008 where participants were drawn from African countries to share experiences on development of alternative energy sources in their various country.”
He said Nigeria had started integrating some of the alternative energy sources like the penetration of solar energy into energy supply mission in the country.
“A lot of solar street lights, solar mini grind and infact, small hydro-power are being developed in this country and had been encouraged.’’
He said between 1980s and 90s, renewable energy was nothing to talk about in Nigeria but after 1989, Sokoto Energy Research Centre under the commission developed a mini grind.
Bala said a survey conducted in 1989 had showed that the use of solar energy began with less 300 KW mainly for water pumping and other applications.
“Our estimate was put at about 28 MW of the dispenser solar installation and there are many more plant to be grind connected through the Nigeria/Germany partnership and other private concerns.’’
The D-G said the major sources of energy in Nigeria was petroleum, coal, fuel wood (biomass traditionally energy sources) and largely hydro.
He said through the introduction of the National Energy Policy, Nigeria had been able to diversify the energy source for National Energy Security, to provide the Renewable Energy Master Plan.
He said the master plan would be promoted, using the sun as source of energy and heat, wind for mechanical and electrical energy and biomass for the production of biofuel.
The D-G said the commission had created awareness on renewable energy since its establishment in 1989 and people were aware of an alternative source of energy.
“We will continue to produce these strategic plans and we will need them in a long time if our economy is to grow and to be within the 20 largest economies in the world.
“We have made the study in the commission and it has been ultilised in the vision 20:2020 and also in the production of National Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan.
“We will continue to produce this plan until Nigeria becomes energy secured and also derived economic benefits from the energy resources,’’ he said.
Bala said the Jastropha project had been promoted as an alternative source of energy for production of biodiesel and ethonal, adding that Jatropha would not conflict with food security as it was non-edible.
The D-G said production of bio-fuel from the feed stock such as the cellulous had been encouraged because cellulous material like agric-waste was non-feed food stock.
Bala said at the moment, the commercial viable ones were the food feed stock like sugarcane for the production of ethanol and the technology was well developed in Brazil and other developed countries.
“Maize and cassava are also used for the production of ethanol but the non-food crop certainly has sympathy for most of the schools of thought that observed that energy from food crops should be discouraged.’’
Bala said Brazil was able to manage the production of sugar cane adequately for both food consumption and energy purposes.
“If we plan properly, we have the vast land we can produce food crops for both food and energy. It is sustainable; unlike the petroleum, once drilled from the ground, it is gone.’’ (NAN)