By Etuka Sunday
The Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil has said that the Federal Government was prioritizing deployment of renewable energy for electricity generation because of its environmental advantage and as a way of bridging the gap in the nation’s energy needs.
A statement by the SA, Media to the Minister of State for Power, Olawale Rasheed, quoted him to have made the disclosure while playing host to a delegation of the Renewable Energy Centre of the Economic Community of West Africa led by its Executive Director, Mr. Mahamah Kappiah.
According to Wakil, renewable energy was adopted by world leaders at various fora as a way of addressing sustainable energy development questions, stressing that “our peculiar needs to add other sources of electricity to the conventional routes has informed this position”.
“Nigeria after successfully privatizing the power sector is set for another landmark achievement by fast tracking development of renewable energy sources. The wind farm in Katsina is under technical audit before commissioning. The Zungeru hydro dam is under construction.
Mambilla hydro dam is already approved and the Kashambilla evacuation project has also been approved. Several renewable energy projects are all in the pipeline”.
“We are also working on the creation of a Presidential Initiative on Renewable Energy which is designed to create a focal coordinating point as well as provide the needed political backing for implementation of Renewable Energy projects. President Goodluck Jonathan is personally committed to drawing all these to a logical conclusion as he has also signed the resolution of ECOWAS Heads of Government on renewable energy policy among others’’, Wakil noted.
As a way of fast tracking Nigeria’s adoption of the Renewable Energy Policy, the minister said Nigeria will soon hold a validation workshop for the ratification of the National Policy on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.
Responding, Mr. Kappiah commended the Nigerian government for her emphasis on renewable energy, describing it as being in conformity with trends worldwide.
While thanking Nigeria for joining the renewable energy revolution, the ECOWAS energy chief said the path taken by Nigerian Power Sector Reform is the best option which most countries are afraid of embarking on – such a large scale of privatization at a swoop. He noted that while it takes time for the benefits to fully manifest to the citizenry, Nigerians he assured would soon start to reap the fruits of the reforms.
He further said that private sector is best placed to run a virile and efficient power sector, affirming that Nigeria has taken the right decision.