Nigeria’s renewable energy as model for Africa
The Federal Government’s effort to ensure that Nigerians embrace renewable energy as a way to cut cost and save the environment from pollution is gradually paying off. Recently, the initiative of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in Mabushi Solar Project won the award for best African Commercial and Industrial Solar Project of the Year. CHINAKA OKORO reports.
Quite recently, world leaders, including President Muhammadu Buhari and over 30,000 delegates converged on Glasgow in the United Kingdom to talk over issues concerning the reduction of emissions, and begin a fresh commitment to climate change; which refers to “long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, but lately, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, which produces heat-trapping gases…”
The effects of climate change have been a source of worry to environmentalists. This has led to conscious efforts towards finding alternatives to certain forms of energy sources that have become inimical to our environment. Several inroads have been made with regard to finding alternatives to the conventional forms of energy.
One of such discoveries is in solar energy in which EM-ONE Energy Solutions’ Mabushi Solar Project is a big player.
Its commitment to improving the energy sector on the African Continent didn’t go unnoticed as the Mabushi Solar Project won the African Solar Industry Association’s (AFSIA) award for Best Commercial and Industrial Solar Project of the Year in the faraway United Kingdom on Tuesday, November 16, 2021.
The award was part of Africa Energy Forum 2021–a forum for donors, government stakeholders, financiers and other industry experts actively working in the Continent’s Energy Sector.
The Mabushi Solar Energy project, spearheaded by the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN), and executed by EM-ONE Energy Solutions, an advanced solar micro-grid system that has 1.52 MWp PV and 2.28 MWh energy storage and powers multiple office buildings of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Works and Housing in Abuja, the country’s capital city.
The ministerial vision
The Minister’s vision of providing renewable energy in Nigeria’s public office through his commitment has not only helped in solving the ministry’s reliance on polluting diesel generators thereby reducing carbon emissions, but it is also in line with the United Nations (UN) Paris Agreement on SDG Goal 7 on Sustainable Energy.
At the award ceremony, attended by the Special Adviser to the Minister on Sustainable Infrastructure (Works), Olufemi Akinyelure, Chief Executive Officer of EM-ONE Energy Solutions, Mr Mir Islam said: “This award is a testament of the vision of the Nigerian Federal Government and its commitment to investing in the energy transition and sustainable development.”
Describing the project as “just the beginning,” Mir Islam, who expressed pride at having delivered “such an exceptional project, despite delays and challenges caused by the pandemic,” added: “Fashola’s projection into the future and provision of clean energy by EM-ONE Energy Solutions’ is an example of public sector investments in renewable energy in Nigeria.
“This project was conceptualised under the leadership of the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) when the ministry was merged with the Ministry of Power. It was then designed and built by EM-ONE Energy Solutions while it was fully funded by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing,” he said.
According to him, while the project was ongoing, investments were made across the projects’ design and implementation to showcase renewable energy and micro-grids as the leading technical solution to address Nigeria’s energy availability and reliability challenges.”
The EM-ONE Energy Solutions’ boss said the project included a complete electrical retrofit and upgrade–that has reduced energy consumption by 40 per cent, adding that the system uses Tesla’s energy storage solution, the Powerpack and its advanced micro-grid controller, which, according to him is “saving the off-takers 76 per cent on their annual energy expenditure.”
Government’s will to solve the clean energy problem
The project, he said, created over 500 direct and indirect jobs over the course of its implementation.
Describing Nigeria as an economic powerhouse on the African Continent, the CEO, who said the project formed “part of the Federal Government’s ambitious commitment to have 10 per cent of its total power derived from clean energy by 2025,” added: “With this feat, the Minister has shown doggedness and philosophy in the decentralisation of electricity as a way to resolve Nigeria’s power problems.”
“This award is a testament to the vision of the Nigerian Federal Government and its commitment to investing in the energy transition and sustainable development–this project is just the beginning. For our team, we are extremely proud to have delivered such an exceptional project, despite delays and challenges caused by the pandemic,” Mir Islam said.
Chief Executive Officer of Renewables in Africa and a member of the Awards jury, Tony Tiyou said: “If there was ever an ounce of a doubt that solar is on the move in Africa, it would have certainly disappeared after my experience as a jury for the awards. The full display of talent, innovation, and dedication left me speechless. More than ever, I’m confident for the future,” he said.
At the inauguration of the project in Mabushi a few months ago, Fashola had said the objective was for Nigerians to see renewable energy as a way to cut costs and save the environment from pollution aside from the direct/ indirect jobs it creates for Nigerian youths.
Praises for government’s support
Responding to the award, Fashola, who praised the dedication and commitment of the Federal Government to support the solar cause, dedicated the award to President Buhari for supporting his vision, adding: “I think this award must deservedly be dedicated to President Muhammadu Buhari who, as leader of the administration, supported the investment in off-grid power.
“He showed a firm commitment to youth involvement in public service and made possible the entire positive spin-offs in terms of job creation, technological growth and cleaner energy from the delivery of the project.
“To my colleagues in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and all the public officers who worked with the team from EM–ONE to make the project a reality, l also thank you for supporting the vision.”