05 September 2015, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Director-General, National Power Training Institute of Nigeria, NAPTIN, Engr. Reuben Okeke has pooh-poohed the idea of investing in renewable energy sources, claiming that it is too expensive and inadequate to meet the power needs of a developing country like Nigeria.
The Ministry of Power recently signed an $850 million pact with energy firms to develop renewable energy sources in four states of the Federation, among many other initiatives by government to exploit abundant renewable energy like solar, biomass, and wind.
Okeke said Nigeria cannot get the required volume of electricity from renewable energy sources such as solar, coal, biomass and wind, adding that it takes a lot of time and resources to harness limited energy from those sources.
“It is an ongoing debate, but we know that solar, coal, and biomass cannot generate megawatts of electricity that can meet the power demands of the 170 million Nigerians,” he observed.
According to Okeke, the three renewable energy sources put together cannot generate one third of electricity that either hydro or thermal would provide.
He added that the money, which the government would spend in providing 10 or 20 megawatts (Mw) of electricity from solar, biomass, wind or coal can generate an appreciable number of megawatts when hydro or thermal form of generation is used.
The NAPTIN boss added that the country is not ripe for renewable energy, urging the government and other investors to concentrate on hydro and gas powered plants for growth.
He said it is impossible to grow the economy with renewable energy, arguing that conventional sources of energy is the best and widely acceptable means of generating electricity globally.
Okeke noted that the country currently boasts of 70 per cent gas power, and 30 per cent hydro electricity, advising that the two should be developed to meet the growing energy needs of the populace.
He added that renewable energy sources like solar, biomass and coal provide insignificant quantum of electricity megawatts, and as such, cannot meet the needs of the masses.