24 September 2014, Abuja – The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Hajiya Rabi Jimeta, has said Nigeria has the potential to generate over 3,500 megawatts of electricity from hydropower.
She said this at the training of corps members and nominees from relevant stakeholders on the conduct of feasibility studies for Small Hydro Power (SHP) systems in Nigeria by the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), in collaboration with Eauxwell Nigeria Ltd and Renewable Academy, Germany, in Abuja.
The permanent secretary, however, lamented that less than 30 per cent of this potential is currently being exploited in the nation.
“Nigeria with the population of about 160 million people has available grid power of about 4000mw only resulting to about 25w/capita. Average access to electricity is about 55 per cent with the urban areas estimated at 87 per cent and the rural areas about 40 per cent.
“Unfortunately, while the rural areas has more of the national population and is the area where small hydropower potential abounds, it is also areas where the human development index is lowest,” she stated.
Jimeta represented by the director, Chemical Technology, Engr. Abass Gumi, said that hydropower resources could be transformed into electricity to improve the standards of living of rural populace.
In his address, the director-general of the Energy Commission of Nigeria, Prof. Eli Jidere, said the training aimed at building the capacity of young graduates to develop bankable proposals for Small Hydro Power (SHP).
Jidere said, “the objectives of this training course is to impart on participants the skills needed to conduct feasibility studies for small-hydro systems and also to provide participants with the detailed overview of the steps required for accessing the appropriateness of small hydro systems.”
According to him, “this will not only build the capacity of our young graduates to develop bankable proposals on SHP development, but also would enable them get economically empowered through the knowledge and skills acquired”.
He said that exploitation of the SHP resources would also alleviate poverty in, and transform the rural communities by creating employment and income generating opportunities as well as improve on social services through better modern energy services.
In his remarks, the Director-General (DG) of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Brig-Gen. Nnamdi Okore-Affia, said the training was intended to promote the use of renewable energy for sustainable development.
He disclosed that the collaboration between the commission and the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), in terms of training of its members, had been on in the past six years.
He said, “the first phase of the programme is the sensitisation of all corps members on renewable energy and its technologies while they are in the orientation camp. The second phase covers the practical training of a selected number of corps members in design, construction, operation and maintenance of some selected renewable energy devices and technologies. The idea is to equip the corps members with skills that can assist them disseminate the knowledge of these technologies at their places of primary assignment to the benefit of the host communities.”
According to Okore-Affia, “the training without a doubt has not only enhanced job opportunity of corps members trained under this programme, but it has also enabled the host communities acquire skills on renewable energy technologies.”
He described renewable energy as globally relevant and the need for it compelling because of high oil prices and climate change effects.
The NYSC boss represented by a director in the parastatal, Engr. Kanayo Chukwu, said that renewable energy could be made available in rural communities to check indiscriminate felling of trees and soil degredation, thereby assisting to preserve the environment and reduce the major causes of global warming with its attendant effects.