Analysing Investment Trends in Nigeria’s Clean Tech Space: What’s Next?

Eucharia Ileka*

Green growth is a key driver of sustainable economic development. It provides a practical and flexible approach for achieving concrete, measurable progress and growth strategies focused on overall wealth rather than an economy measured entirely by its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In the heart of the energy transition drive for both developed and developing countries, it becomes pertinent to track the extent of countries’ adoption of clean technologies through the analysis of the investment trends in alternative sources of energy.

For a developing country like Nigeria, there are many evident ways to adopt various approaches to achieving a good clean energy mix through various technologies that bring justice to critical life support services, clean air and water, and the resilient biodiversity needed. There is a need for Energy transition. There is an urgent need for Policy support for renewable sources, an accelerating industry, as the emergence of publicly listed companies that own renewable energy assets have driven the steady rise in clean energy investment. Worldwide investment in clean energy Investment is highest for both solar and wind.

There are many sources of renewable energy available these days, such as biomass and waste-to-energy, geothermal and marine. However, investment in solar and wind energy is by far the highest. Global investment in solar energy has soared since 2004, rising from just over 10 billion U.S. dollars to more than 140 billion U.S. dollars.

The countries with the highest investment in renewable energy are China and the United States, with investment in the former amounting to 90 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. However, this was a slight decrease from the previous year whilst investment in the United States experienced growth of 25 percent.

The Way Forward for Nigeria.

The way forward for Nigeria is the adoption and proper adaptation strategy for clean energy technologies such as solar, biomass, mini grids and waste to energy. The urgent need for waste to energy conversion in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized.

Nigeria is one of the highest emitters of greenhouse gases in Africa. The practice of flaring gas by the oil companies operating in Nigeria has been a major means through which greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide emissions in this area are among the highest in the world. Some 45.8 billion kw of heat are discharged into the atmosphere of the Niger Delta from flaring 1.8 billion ft3 of gas every day. Gas flaring has raised temperatures and rendered large areas uninhabitable.

Between 1970 and 1986, a total of about 125.5 million m3 of gas was produced in the Niger Delta region, about 102.3 (81.7 %) million m3 were flared, while only 2.6 million m3 were used as fuel by oil-producing companies and about 14.6 million m3 were sold to other consumers. The use of renewable energy sources will reduce the over dependence on the burning of fossil fuel. Moreover, instead of flaring gas in Nigeria, the gases can be converted to methanol and used as a fuel for both domestic and industrial use. With good energy efficiency practices and products, the burning of fossil fuel for energy will be greatly minimized.

Potential Clean Energy Opportunities in Nigeria.

  • More efficient passive and full usage of solar technologies in the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.
  • Biogas from wastes as a source of cooking fuel in homes.
  • Use of energy-efficient lighting.
  • Implementation of renewable biomass as a fuel in highly efficient cook stoves.
  • Efficient production of charcoal as a fuel in homes and small and medium enterprises.
  • Use of biofuels in efficient cooking stoves and lamps in homes.
  • Energy-efficient lighting.
  • Use of compressed natural gas (CNG) as a transport fuel.
  • Use of biofuels as a transport fuel.
  • Shift from high carbon intensive fuels to natural gas for energy generation in industries.
  • Development of a CNG infrastructure to distribute natural gas to industries located at sites remote from the existing pipelines.
  • Implementation of combined heat and power (CHP) facilities in industries.
  • Implementation of energy efficiency improvements in manufacturing industries.
  • Implementation of CHP facilities in commercial facilities.
  • Use of solar and wind energy for irrigation water pumping and farm electricity supply.
  • Utilization of agricultural residues for electricity generation.
  • Generation of biogas from wastes produced by the livestock and animal husbandry.

Investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency are two components that should go together to achieve sustainable development in Nigeria. The need to conserve the present energy generated in the country using energy-efficient products and the appropriate practices is essential for sustainable development. Therefore, it is pertinent that the country should take the following course of action:

  • Develop policies on energy efficiency and integrate them into the current energy policies. A comprehensive and coherent energy policy is essential in guiding the citizens towards an efficient usage of its energy resources.
  • Promote energy-efficient products and appropriate practices at the side of the end users and energy generation.
  • Create awareness on renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • Establish an agency to promote the use of energy-efficient products and ensure the appropriate practices.
  • Develop and imbibe energy efficiency technologies.
  • Carry out a resource survey and assessment to determine the total renewable energy potential in the country as well as identify the local conditions and local priorities in various ecological zones.
  • Establish a testing and standards laboratory for renewable energy technologies similar to what is obtainable in countries like South Africa.
  • Take advantage of global partnerships, such as the Residential Energy Efficiency Project initiative of the UK, to assist the country in a creative integration of renewable energy systems.
  • Establish a renewable energy funding/financing agency such as India’s Indian Renewable Energy Agency.
  • Develop appropriate drivers for the implementation of energy efficiency policies.

Clean energy facilities should be embraced in the different sectors of the Nigerian economy. In addition to this, the existing research and development centers and technology development institutions should be adequately strengthened to support the shift towards an increased use of renewable energy. Human resource development, critical knowledge, and know-how transfer should be the focus for project development, project management, monitoring, and evaluation. The preparation of standards and codes of practices, maintenance manuals, life cycle costing, and cost-benefit analysis tools should be undertaken on urgent priority.

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