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Adefolake Adekola: Renewable Energy is the Future for Nigeria

Adefolake Adekola

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According to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Nigeria has signed a deal with Russia to build two Nuclear Power Plants in Nigeria. The two countries signed an intergovernmental nuclear co-operation agreement in 2009. The electricity crisis in Nigeria has lingered on for too long, as the World Bank reported that by 2014, only 57.7% of Nigerians had access to electricity. A source from Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC) reportedly told BBC that one will be built in the South and the other in the central area. I wonder where?

Before I explain what renewable energy is and its importance for us as a country, it is necessary we know what happened in Chernobyl.

In April 26th 1986, a nuclear power plant in Ukraine formerly part of the Soviet Union exploded as a result of a flaw in the design of the reactor and the operations carried out by inadequately trained personnel. Initially, only two people died as a result, which didn’t raise as much dust, until several people began to die weeks after due to various types of illnesses.

Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) says there were over 7000 recorded cases of thyroid cancer and other diseases, and about 200,000 people had to be relocated as a result of the radiation. Mutation of animals, plant and humans was a major effect of the radiation that occurred as a result of the Chernobyl disaster.

Fukushima nuclear disaster is another major nuclear explosion that cost Japan billions of dollars. Although this explosion was as a result of the earthquake, it still does not change the fact that it cost lives and properties. It is not my place to say what’s best for Nigeria at the moment, as we all suffer from the lack of electricity, but I definitely know what the future holds for Nigeria. Renewable energy is that future.

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is from an energy resource that is replaced rapidly by a natural process, such as power generated from the sun or from the wind (Science Daily, 2017).

Solar, wind, biomass (vegetation), geothermal and hydropower are a few of the sources of renewable energy while fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal and propane are forms of non-renewable energy. The similarity between the two forms of energy is that they both produce energy and electricity. The difference is that one is finite and the other infinite. Non-renewable energy is finite as they can run out one day, but renewable energy is infinite because it cannot be replaced and is commonly referred to as sustainable energy or green energy.

Biomass energy is the use of wood and vegetation to produce energy. As long as trees are planted for every tree cut down, it is a good source of energy. Wind energy involves the use of wind turbines to produce energy. This occurs when the wind enables the blades of the turbine which is attached to a generator to shift thereby causing generation of energy. One wind turbine can power up to 300 homes. In 2013, about 7.9% of UK’s electricity was from wind turbines, which was enough to power up to 6.8 million homes (Cambridge Econometrics, 2015).

Hydropower is a source of renewable energy that does not release Greenhouse gases and cause global warming. It requires the storing up of water in a dam to generate electricity, which requires rivers close by to enable water flow all year round.

Geothermal energy is when pipes are dug deep into the earth in order to get steam from the rock deeps (magma), then the steam is used to turn the turbines and a generator converts the energy from the turbines to produce electricity. This form of energy is renewable because the water is replaced by rainfall and heat is continuously generated in the earth.

Solar energy is probably the most popular of all the sources of renewable energy because it is generated from the sun. Solar which is the Latin word for sun is a powerful source of energy and has been in use for a long time. Because of change in weather, the sun does not shine every time and that is why solar panels and cells are needed for solar energy to fully function.

There are other forms of renewable energy that are still in the nascent stages such as wave energy, marine (ocean) energy and so on.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Renewable Energy

S/N ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
1 It is sustainable; will never run out Difficult to generate the quantity of electricity as produced by fossil fuels
2 Requires less maintenance Reduced amount in energy
3 Reduced cost of operations Inconsistent and unpredictable
4 Little or no waste product Requires large capital
5 Minimal impact on the environment Low reliability of electricity supply
6 Readily available natural resources  

Environmentalist are not oblivious to the disadvantages of renewable energy, but the advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantages for us all. Non-renewable energy causes emission of Greenhouse gases which leads to a depletion of the ozone layer and global warming, ultimately causing climate change and health decline. It is not a debate whether or not Nigeria should go ahead in the construction of nuclear power plant as it is already in motion. This is only a wake-up call that the future for Nigeria is renewable energy.

In Nigeria, we are blessed with a lot of natural resources and abundance of nature: rainfall, wind, vegetation and so much more. It should only come naturally to us to use these resources to improve the standard of living in Nigeria and across Africa.

Photo Credit
: © Iofoto | Dreamstime

Adefolake Adekola is an Environmental and Social Development Specialist. She is currently the Social Safeguard Consultant on a World Bank Assisted Project (Community and Social Development Project) across 30 states. Her experience spans across different sectors as she has worked both in the Public and Private sector. She has a Masters’ degree in Environmental Assessment and Management and hold numerous certifications. She is also an Independent Consultant for top companies in Nigeria and has work experience in Nigeria and the United Kingdom. She is the author of a book titled “Functioning in the knowledge of who you are” and a website where she talks about everything and anything www.adefolakeadekola.com. She loves to watch series when she is less busy and write articles based on extensive research.

12 Comments

  1. olufayo

    November 15, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Great article, we should join the rest of the world in the 21st century by embracing renewables!!

  2. jokobaba

    November 15, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Great article. best article ever.

  3. jokobaba

    November 15, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    There you go again. Fear mongers, Europe has over 180 nuclear power plants for electricity generation (Euopean Nuclear Society ). It is one is one of the cleanest and cheapest source of energy. This myth should be broken apart. And one accident in 1986 has not stopped the Europeans from using nuclear as a source of energy; why shouldn’t we embrace this project that will accelerate our development?

    ref:
    https://www.euronuclear.org/info/encyclopedia/n/nuclear-power-plant-europe.htm

    • Adefolake Adekola

      Adefolake Adekola

      November 16, 2017 at 8:46 am

      You are absolutely right. But we are Nigerians, if the Russians help us run the plant for 30 years, what happens when they leave? What happens when a staff in the plant going through financial difficulty or divorce decides to do a haphazard job?
      Just my opinion.

  4. Engoz

    November 15, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Very Educative piece for the public. And I like your usage of ‘lay language’. I can’t count the number of times I’ve read some articles or gone to seminars and I’m like what the heck are you talking about because they don’t put their audience into consideration. They just assume everyone knows the terms they use. People from the financial sector annoy me the most. Maybe it’s a tactic to steal your money especially those insurance people.

    Anyway, I would like to know Nigeria’s reasons for opting for nuclear power plants. Maybe they know something we don’t. But I highly doubt it has anything to do with knowledge but more about some shady business contractor deal.

  5. Mahka

    November 15, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    From one environmentalist to the next, love the article.
    Biomass energy is one neglected source of energy. People could easily switch from coal to briquettes. Its pollution free, sustainable n easily sourced.
    9ja n their mago mago…lets see how this plays out.

  6. Mr GREEN

    November 15, 2017 at 11:09 pm

    Great Article Adefolake!
    Nigeria CAN meet her energy needs without going nuclear. Its too expensive (over $20 billion for the akant),takes time(over 5 years), and risky(man made/natural disasters) in addition to generating nuclear waste. Various governments can not maintain street/traffic lights or pay workers salaries is it Nuclear plants they would maintain?
    LET’S GO GREEN!

    • Jdiode

      November 16, 2017 at 9:09 am

      @MR Green, the pathetic state Nigeria has found herself is a result of quick fixes and no strategic planning. Let’s develop every aspect of our power generation and we will be able to stop burning fuel in our generators. Nothing good comes easy, all the money stolen from NNPC and other sister agencies is enough to give Nigeria stable power.

    • Toyosi

      November 16, 2017 at 9:55 am

      I do agree with you… we haven’t even begun to think about the health issues related with the use of Nuclear energy.

  7. Jdiode

    November 16, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Nice article! Don’t be scared of nuclear technology my dear. Nigerians are being trained in different parts of the world on nuclear technology and its applications. Let the renewable energy folks start helping those in the rural areas while the nuclear technology experts develop power for large scale industrial power technology. We will never say because Nigerians have died in plane crash we should ban aircrafts. Lol…. :). Keep up the good job…

  8. Jdiode

    November 16, 2017 at 10:10 am

    @Adefolake, the nuclear industry is highly regulated and is not being operated like every other industry. Safety is critical to the industry and the workers are required to have specific training for the job. Its not like what is obtainable in other areas where incompetent folks are being fed into ministres because they have one big man at the top. I believe there are Human Reliability Programs which are required for you to work in a nuclear reactor environment.

  9. AMA Psalmist

    November 17, 2017 at 10:37 am

    I don’t even think we’re ready to maintain a nuclear plant, talk more 2! I know there’s an electricity crisis but it’s even less expensive to build and maintain renewable sources. We’re trying more as regards solar, it’ll be nice to diversify, but that nuclear plant wahala, please no. Well-done Folake! Learnt a lot from this article.

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