For being good ambassadors of the Centre for Petroleum, Energy Economics and Law (CPEEL), University of Ibadan, Dr. Yunus Akintunde and others were honoured last night.
Akintunde, who recently completed his Ph.D studies in energy and environment from the institution, is a governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the forthcoming 2019 election in Oyo State.
Giving a keynote address at a renewable energy conference conference organised by CPEEL earlier in the day, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Raji Fashola warned that for renewable energy to develop in the Country and particularly in the country, the government must give similar priority to renewable energy as conventional power plants to maintain a balanced energy in the short, medium and long-term.
Pointing out that renewable energy are the fastest power plants that can be deployed as the technologies required are compatible with what he described as the nations decentralized, stand-alone ideal for local, rural communities, the former governor of Lagos state stressed that efforts, however, must be intensified at improving the transmission grid.
With the theme “Developing Renewable Energy in Africa: The Interplay of Technology, Economics and Law”, the 2-day CPEEL-ANSOLE annual international conference which attracted experts, scholars, students and participants from different African countries held at the Premier Hotel, Mokola Hill, Ibadan.
Speaking through the Acting Director, Renewable and Rural Power Access Development, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Faruk Yabo, Fashola noted that “the huge energy deficit and the negative environmental impact of using fossil fuel for energy generation, as well as the falling costs of renewable energy technologies like solar power, are driving the current energy transition towards renewable energy as being witnessed across the world, including here in Africa.”
He lamented that despite Africans trillions standard cubic feet (SCFs) of natural gas reserves, billions of barrels of crude oil reserves, billions of tonnes of coal and even greater abundance of renewable energy resources, “nearly 1.5 billion people estimated to lack electricity supply the world over, half lived in Africa” with Nigeria alone estimated to have 90 million people living without electricity supply.
As parts of the implementation of the power sector recovery programme, the Minister said that the “Federal government is implementing off-grid renewable energy solutions such as rural mini-grids, standalone home solutions, IPP for Federal Universities, Teaching Hospitals and large-scale solar PV projects such as the Jigawa solar city.
He said, “In 2018 we are making efforts to complete and commission the following renewable energy projects: 10 MW Katsina wind farm, 30MW Gurara Hydro Power, 29MW Dadin Kowa Hydropower and 40MW Kashimbila HydroPower, 700MW Zungeru Hydro Power and the 14 Solar IPP are expected to come on stream soon.”
In a short remark before declaring the conference opening, Oyo State Governor Abiola Ajimobi noted that “the good Lord has blessed us with abundant diverse natural resources that are continuously replenished continuously. But we need the policy to encourage investors in developing the technology for Africa and to also embolden financials to allocate huge funds to renewable energy development in Africa.
“The outlook of us as policymakers, researchers and investors is a strategic partnership that will result to increase in the contribution of renewable energy generation in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, in a way that will make it attractive, accessible and affordable to the general public.”
Ajimobi who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Dr. Gbade Ojo charged all the participants to “enlighten policymakers on the significant opportunities in renewable energy, which includes but not limited to energy efficiency, energy security, reduction in environmental pollution especially air pollution and improve public healthcare and one must not forget economic benefits to the users and the government.”
Vice Chancellor, UI, Prof. Idowu Olayinka said the conference and the theme is very relevant and important at this critical period, given the current energy challenges adding that the “significance is not just for the town but also for the gown as the University spends very considerable amount of money to ensure stable electricity supply that can support research, training and other activities on campus that will impact the nation and the world positively.
He appeals to the FG through the minister to revisit the pledge of a support to build a 10MW solar plant in collaboration with Germany about two years ago, noting that the project has not made any significant progress since it was launched.
“I will like to remind the Hon. Minister that about two years ago, the Federal Government made a pledge of support to build a 10MW Solar Plant in collaboration with the German for the University. While other universities have been included in the scheme, the University of Ibadan is yet to record any progress on the plant.
“I want to use this opportunity to appeal to the Hon. Minister and the Rural Electrification Agency to revisit the project given that the successful completion will further aid research and training activities in the University as we all work very hard to make UI the best among the rest”, the VC appealed.
Earlier, the director, CPEEL, Prof. Adeola Adenikiju in his welcome address said the objectives of organizing the conference, which was the third in the series was, “to bring together senior policymakers, industry experts and academics to discuss current energy issues that are relevant to the 20 countries in the Gulf of Guinea region; to address energy challenges in a multidisciplinary framework as well as to encourage the sharing of experiences among the countries in the sub-region and from other parts of the world in order to learn best practices from each other.