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- National Mirror, May 14, 2014, By Chidi Ugwu

Federal Government has urged potential investors in the power sector to consider renewable energy sources such as coal to power, hydros, solar, wind, and bio-mass.

The minister of Power professor Chinedu Nebo, who gave the charge at the just concluded World Economic Forum in Abuja, said the diversification had become necessary going by the incessant attacks by vandals, on gas pipelines.

… around March this year, the nation lost about 2,100MW of electricity as a result of gas shortage due to vandalism of gas pipelines.

“Over reliance on gas for generation, vandalization of gas pipelines, transmission stability and reliability, sustainability of off-grid solution models are among challenges facing the sector” he had stated.

The power minister said 70 per cent of the nation’s electricity supply industry is made up of thermal gas-fired turbines, stressing that over dependence on gas has remained one the major challenge in attaining the desired efficiency in the sector. “We would like to have a robust energy mix, in order not to concentrate investment in gas-fired turbines. 70 per cent of our generation capacity is thermal gas-fired turbines and then the rest hydros. We need the coal, we need renewable energy, we need more hydros, we need solar, wind, we need bio-mass and all these are very critical” he stated.

He maintained that solar and/or wind powered electricity will be cost-effective in areas where electricity cannot be supplied, especially in the rural, riverine and areas remote to current grid/energy sources such as waterfalls. The minister, who noted that electrifying Nigeria will be a source of economic and social development, disclosed that about 600 million people, (70%) of sub sahara Africa are without access to power and 85 per cent of this population are in the rural areas.

To this end, the minister said Federal Government had already commissioned three pilot projects within the Abuja surbub including, Shape, Durumi, Waru under a project tagged Operation Light Up Rural Nigeria.According to Nebo, the plan is to replicate the project in every senatorial district all over the country.

He further disclosed that feasibility studies for 10 small & medium hydros have been completed ready for concession (capacities ranging from less than 1MW to 10MW).

Meanwhile, Delta State has taken the lead in the generation of renewable energy as a Canadian based investor has concluded plans to invest $5 billion to produce 3,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity. .. the project was the initiative of the state government to key into the green economy programme of the global community.

The Federal Government recently signed the Foreign Investments Protection Agreement (FIPA) with Canada to remove existing bottlenecks to smoothen the takeoff of Canadian investments in Nigeria.

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