The Renewable ElementBack


Our existence is hinged on access to air, water, food, shelter and clothing. These are life's necessity and beyond starts the quest for luxury.


However, despite the availability of these ‘necessities of life’, the need for energy has become fundamental for existence as man continuously depends to a large extent on energy to carry out a lot of things.


Ironically, the world is yet to earnestly tap into the vast array of natural energy elements in its lithosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere. This is irrespective of the fact that these elements have the ability to replenish themselves continuously for eternity.




Renewable elements - Nature’s free gifts


Renewable elements are Nature’s endowment present in the earth’s spheres. Renewable elements take different forms such as:


Wind power - is generated from the atmosphere. This kind of energy can be used to run wind turbines. Areas with high wind density such as offshore and high altitude provide a good source of wind power.


Solar energy - is radiant light and heat from the sun. It is a major source of renewable energy. Some areas of the world such as Sub-Saharan Africa have a very high solar radiation.


Hydropower - is gotten from the hydrosphere (the water bodies). This is a very useful source of renewable energy and one of the world’s major sources of power[1] which can never deplete as it is estimated that about 70 percent of the world is covered by water.


Other forms of renewable energy include geothermal energy (which is heat from the earth’s crust), bio energy (energy derived from living things or their waste),[2] etc.



Renewable and valuable


‘‘The International Energy Agency estimates that financing universal energy access for the 3 billion energy poor would cost only about 3 per cent of total global energy investments. Doing this can reduce poverty, create jobs, empower women, increase competitiveness, and achieve our target of stabilizing the climate below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.’’[3]


The words of Ban Ki-moon can be summarised thus, renewable energy:


  • is inexhaustible;
  • is less capital intensive;
  • will create jobs;
  • will reduce the impact of global warming; and
  • will rule the world of energy.



Renewable energy in Nigeria


One striking feature about Nigerians from the North is their colour. It shows the amount of solar radiation which that part of the African continent is exposed to by reason of its location at the Sub-Saharan region of Africa.


In my short period of residence in that part of the country, I noticed that the density of solar rays alone can create tremendous energy for the country in the form of electricity if properly utilised. Apart from the solar power, all other forms of renewable energy are present and can be explored in Nigeria.



Renewable energy regulations in Nigeria


The Energy Commission of Nigeria Act of 1979 was established with the mandate of coordinating and exercising general surveillance over the systemic development of the various energy resources of Nigeria.


By virtue of Section 5 (d), the commission is amongst others, saddled with the following functions:


  1. recommending for exploitation new sources of energy as and when considered necessary;
  2. lay down guidelines on the utilisation of energy types for specific purpose in the prescribed sequence;
  3. liaise with all international organisations in energy matters such as the International Atomic Energy Agency, World Energy Conference and other similar organisations; and
  4. promote training and manpower development in the energy sector.


Can Renewable energy meets the Nigerian energy demand?


Renewable energy can meet Nigeria’s dire energy needs. The government, all stakeholders as well as project financiers from the international community can invest in renewable energy in Nigeria. Given the magnitude of her population of over one hundred and sixty million (160,000,000), investments in renewable energy will be astute as the Nigerian market is hungry for energy.


By Kunmi Da-Silva



[1] According to the World Nuclear Association, hydroelectric power contributes about 16% of the World’s electricity.


[2] as defined by the Cambridge Online Dictionary


[3] Denver, Colorado, 24 August 2011- Secretary General’s remarks at Roundtable on ‘‘Sustainable Energy for All’’ by Ban Ki-moon.


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