The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has said diversification of the country’s energy mix will stimulate national economy.
Speaking at the commissioning of the 1.35 megawatts solar hybrid power plant at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun (FUPRE), Delta State, Senator Omo-Agege noted that this will also create more robust avenues for national income, fight endemic poverty as well as help the country to positively match forward on the path of sustainable economic development.
According to the Deputy President of the Senate, the project, which is under the Federal Government’s Energising Education Programme (EEP), will produce enough electricity to power the entire FUPRE community and cater for the energy needs of its over 6,000 population.
The programme is designed to provide sustainable and clean energy to 37 Federal Universities and seven University Teaching Hospitals across the country, under the auspices of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA).
The Delta Central lawmaker explained that the initiative is also projected to create over 100 jobs and significantly boost FUPRE’s local economy.
Senator Omo-Agege, who sponsored the bill establishing the Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, Delta State, in the Eighth Senate, also applauded President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the bill into law.
“Today’s event is a significant opportunity because of what solar energy solution represents. Firstly, it is part of the present global energy paradigm shift and we cannot afford to be left behind. Secondly, it is a veritable solution to our endemic power problem. Thirdly, it provides hope for creating a cleaner, pollution-free environment. Finally, it is happening in FUPRE – an institution with a mandate that includes the development of clean energies. This itself represents a positive challenge for members of this institution to be leaders in clean energy research and development.
“Another dimension of solar energy solution that provides a good challenge to the FUPRE academic community is its environmental friendliness. FUPRE is situated in an environment where pollution, resulting from the exploitation of fossil energy is endemic. To this extent, it is smart to creatively take on this challenge because, as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. Solar energy technologies are relatively young and fast evolving. There is room for new strides. This is your time to make real impact. Let the world hear about your exploits in this regard.
“It is equally important to emphasize that globally, nations are moving away from conventional energy sources to renewable ones because of the limitless opportunities. We can be part of this innovation. Let us take a cue from similar initiatives in even some Third World countries that are making significant strides in the field of renewable energy. India pioneered biogas technology by way of Anaerobic Digestion (AD) plants. Today, Kenya is reportedly close to attaining a 100 percent mark for renewable energy for all its electricity needs,” he said.
With Nigeria generating most of its electricity from gas-fired power plants, while output from hydro-power plants makes up about 30 percent of total generation, industry experts have stressed the need for the government to diversify the country’s power generation mix on the back of incessant damage to oil and gas pipelines.
While emphasising that there are immense benefits in investing in solar energy, the federal legislator encouraged the institution to take the lead in researching on clean energy.
He also called for proper maintenance of the hybrid plant for optimal performance.
He added: “Nigeria can also make giant strides in innovative solar energy solutions. We have abundant sunshine. We have solar scientists and researchers in great number. Some are here in FUPRE. Also, the Federal Government has several incentives, including tariff waivers, tax reliefs, specialized loans, and intervention funds, for solar energy development. Our nation’s Renewable Energy Master Plan (REMP) encourages profitable participation in solar energy research and development”. .