An energy advocacy group, Power for all, says Nigeria can save $1.4 billion if the country switches from kerosene to distributed renewable energy (DRE). In a series of research conducted by the group on the impact of kerosene lamp, it was discovered that lighting from the fuel increases the risk of tuberculosis nine times and cataracts two times. The study also claims that Nigeria can save about $1.4 billion yearly by a transition to clean, modern lighting.
Power for all has been raising awareness on its findings, through the engagement with civil society organizations, policy makers, trade associations and faith-based organizations. It took its campaigns to the South-east and North-central with a series of workshops recently.
The Country Director of the organization, Ify Malo, says the consumption of fossil fuel comes with lots of costs: “Energy poverty forces people to resort to inefficient forms of energy and lighting through fossil fuels such as kerosene which comes with a lot of costs: financial, health, safety and environmental costs. As a global campaign, Power for All believes that the fastest way to achieve universal access to clean, modern energy is through the acceleration of DRE which eliminates these costs.”
Distributed Renewable Energy options are varied. They could range from solar options like, pico-solar solutions, stand-alone solar systems (SHS), mini-grids and mobile solar farms, to small hydro dams that can serve a community.
According to Power for all, DRE solutions have the advantage of being readily available, affordable, and immediately deployable. The decentralized nature of renewable energy makes it more accessible than centrally planned fossil fuel plants.
The Head of the Climate Change Department in the Kogi state Ministry of Environment, Enehe Dorcas, said the state is excited about DRE solutions: “The Kogi State Government has been grappling with how to protect the environment while at the same time meeting the energy needs of the people. We are excited about the potential of DRE solutions and are looking to partner with Power for All and all other stakeholders to achieve solutions.”
Power for all says 55% of Nigerians are not provided with power. Decentralised delivery of power and off the grid systems will be of great benefit to underserved areas. Trade associations are now catching up with the revenue possibilities DRE products offer. Sam Enejoh, Vice-President of the Kogi State Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (KOCCIMA), said, “The Chamber of Commerce and Industry is excited about the business opportunities that DRE presents in transitioning from inefficient lighting to clean, modern lighting and will mobilize its members to take advantage of it while providing efficient lighting and electricity for everyone within the state and even beyond its borders.”
The workshops, which were held in Kogi for the North-Central region and Enugu, for the South-East region, are part of the ‘Reducing Black Carbon Emissions by Transitioning to Clean and Sustainable Lighting Project.’
The carbon reduction project is concerned with phasing out kerosene lamps in Nigeria and promoting a market transition to DRE and energy-efficient lighting products. The programme is funded by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC).
Nigeria is ramping its solar-generated energy. A research conducted last year put solar produced electricity at 146MW. However, there other renewable energy sources like biofuel, wind energy, small hydro, geothermal and tidal wave. They need equal attention if Nigeria is to have a rich energy mix.