• Monday, May 20, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

There has never been a more crucial moment to switch to green energy

There has never been a more crucial moment to switch to green energy

As a Nigerian grappling with the relentless rise in the costs of conventional electricity and the urgent imperative for sustainable solutions to our energy needs, the present juncture presents an unprecedented opportunity to embrace the transition to green energy.

In a landscape where the affordability and accessibility of basic utilities like electricity are increasingly strained by economic pressures and infrastructural challenges, the imperative for seeking alternative, renewable energy sources has never been more pressing.

An average family spent about N10 thousand on power every month about two years ago. While the supply is not guaranteed and even when it comes, it is erratic. sometimes the current will be too low to serve the basic needs.

The world is going through a major energy transition globally.

The United States, the United Kingdom, most European countries, and several developed countries have set targets of moving completely to green and renewable energies between 2030 – 2050. The United Nations through its sustainable development goals program is busy pushing for this and appreciable progress has been made.

Africa, where most countries are just developing and still grappling with several political, economic, and social issues is several miles behind on the above goals. We are struggling seriously with a lot continentally, sustainability is taking a back position on most of the continent’s agenda.

But the reality is that we don’t have too much time to catch up. The cost of basic power/energy has skyrocketed in the past few decades. In Nigeria recently, the cost of a kilowatt of electric power experienced about a 240 percent price hike. Unexpected and never seen before.

The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) has increased electricity tariffs for urban customers by 240 percent amid the country’s rising inflation.

The new rate, effective immediately, rose to ₦225 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), a significant jump from the previous ₦66 per kWh. These customers—under the Band A classification—use 20 hours of power supply daily and represent 15 percent of the country’s 12 million registered electricity customers.

While there are legitimate reasons for this, the economic reality doesn’t support this at all because even the high and mighty can’t keep up with this increase. Before this hike, you could get as much as 1,400 kilowatts for N100 thousand on the said band A which guarantees 20 hours of power supply daily. The same N100 thousand will struggle to give you about 400 kilowatts.

As of recent data, the average wage in Nigeria varies depending on several factors such as the industry, location, and level of education or skill. However, as of 2022, the average monthly wage in Nigeria was estimated to be around ₦30,000 to ₦50,000 for low-skilled or entry-level positions. Skilled professionals in sectors like banking, oil and gas, and IT may earn significantly higher wages, ranging from ₦100 thousand to ₦500 thousand or more per month, With a GDP of $2,000 per capita.

I don’t know where this recent hike will lead, it’s all expected to make life more difficult for a struggling country’s middle and even upper class because the rich are already crying out.

So back to my topic, what better time than this to require innovative ways of staying above the wave and the tide of the energy crisis? I think the time is now, the time is right now to employ sustainable ways of power generation.

We’ve been blessed with solutions by God’s natural creation since the world was created. We have the sun, the wind, and the water that can be used to generate this power without damaging the solar system which is a major calamity waiting to happen if proper cares are not taken.

There is no better time to think about solar energy provisions

No better time to start building sustainable and affordable houses that rely less on electrical and mechanical means of ventilation, heating, and lighting.

We need to start using as much as we could adopt energy star-rated appliances if we can’t see how the cost of conventional power can be reduced. We have to start adopting sustainability technologies in our daily lives.

The time for sustainability is now.

We need to take responsibility for our environment and make it sustainable. We need to manage the natural resources around us to ensure that our meager earnings are not wasted unnecessarily on powering our communities. We need to listen to warnings of the nature.

The universe is overheating, our pockets are hurting! Let’s look inward and make the right transition. Let our government and leaders create incentives for adopters of these technologies, and let there be regulated and monitored subsidies to this initiative. I believe when there is a will there is a way. Let the people making these policies have a will that can put a stop to global warming and possibly reverse the effect in decades to come.

It’s time to think inwards, Alternative sources of energy offer numerous benefits for Africa, addressing a wide array of challenges faced by the continent and its people. Here are some key advantages:

Energy Security: Africa’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels, particularly imported petroleum products, makes its energy infrastructure vulnerable to supply disruptions and price volatility in the global market. Embracing alternative sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power can enhance energy security by diversifying the energy mix and reducing dependence on finite resources.

Cost-Effectiveness: While initial investments in renewable energy infrastructure may be substantial, the long-term operational costs of harnessing solar, wind, and hydroelectric power are significantly lower than those associated with traditional fossil fuels. Once installed, renewable energy systems require minimal ongoing expenses for fuel and maintenance, making them cost-effective solutions for both individuals and governments.

Job Creation: The transition to renewable energy offers vast opportunities for job creation across various sectors, including manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and research and development. By investing in renewable energy projects, African countries can stimulate economic growth, reduce unemployment rates, and foster innovation and skills development in emerging industries.

Environmental Sustainability: Unlike fossil fuels, which emit harmful greenhouse gases and contribute to climate change, renewable energy sources produce minimal or no carbon emissions during operation. By embracing clean energy technologies, Africa can mitigate its environmental carbon footprint, preserve natural resources, and contribute to global efforts to combat climate change and achieve sustainable development goals.

Rural Electrification: Alternative energy sources, such as solar microgrids and small-scale hydroelectric systems, offer scalable solutions for extending electricity access to remote and underserved rural communities. By decentralizing energy production and distribution, renewable energy technologies empower local communities, improve livelihoods, and bridge the energy access gap between urban and rural areas.

Resilience to Climate Change: As Africa grapples with the adverse impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events, droughts, flooding, and desertification, renewable energy systems offer resilient and adaptive solutions. Solar and wind power, in particular, are abundant and decentralized energy sources that can withstand climate-related disruptions and provide reliable electricity in times of crisis.

Energy Independence: By harnessing its abundant renewable energy resources, Africa can reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels and achieve greater energy independence. Domestic renewable energy production strengthens national security, mitigates geopolitical risks associated with energy imports, and fosters self-reliance in meeting the continent’s growing energy demand.

Overall, the adoption of alternative energy sources presents a transformative opportunity for Africa to build a sustainable, inclusive, and prosperous energy future that benefits both present and future generations.

It’s time to make this call across the continent, we can’t wait for the developed country to fund this or to drive it. Let’s open our eyes to see the consequences and make the right turn. This will save our pockets and save our continent.

God bless Africa.

Fakanlu Adonis oluwabusuyi is the Founder/CEO, Comfort Architectural Finishing Ltd.