BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Nigeria’s renewable energy capacity hits 2,154MW in 2021

Nigeria’s renewable energy capacity increased marginally to 2154 Megawatts(MW) in 2021 from 2150 MW in 2020, according to a new analysis by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) mapping renewable energy capacity in the previous year.

Hydropower, which accounted for 2,111 MW of Nigeria’s renewable energy capacity, provided the majority of the country’s renewable energy capacity, the report said.

The Niger and Benue rivers, as well as the Lake Chad basin, are significant rivers and natural falls with abundant hydropower potential in Nigeria.

With an estimated 1,800 m3 of renewable water per person per year, there is still a lot of untapped potential. Hydropower’s entire exploitable potential is projected to be about 14,120 MW.

Also, the solar energy contribution of the country’s renewable capacity also recorded 33MW in 2021 as compared to 28MW recorded in the previous year, the report noted.

While noting all this, the report indicated that renewable energy capacity grew by 3.9 per cent in Africa and 3.3 per cent in Central America and the Caribbean.

However, it pointed out that despite representing steady growth, the pace in both regions is much slower than the global average, indicating the need for stronger international cooperation to optimize electricity markets and drive massive investments in that region.

According to the IRENA data, Africa accounts for 55705MW renewable energy capacity in 2021 from 53608MW recorded in 2020, with some of the leading countries as South Africa (10193MW), Egypt (6226MW), and Ethiopia (4,759MW).

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Sixty per cent of the new capacity in 2021 was added in Asia, resulting in a total of 1.46 Terawatt (TW) of renewable capacity by 2021. China was the biggest contributor, adding 121 Gigawatt (GW) to the continent’s new capacity.

Meanwhile, with 1,020,234MW of capacity, China accounted for more than 33 percent of world capacity. There are no signs that the country is slowing down. It is planning the world’s largest wind and solar project, which may increase its clean energy capacity by 400,000MW.

The United States is again trailing the country at the back with 325,391MW of renewable capacity, having recently surpassed 100,000MW of solar power capacity after adding another 50,000MW in the first three months of 2021.

Renewable energy has continued to grow and gather momentum despite global uncertainties. According to the report, worldwide renewable generation capacity amounted to 3064GW by the end of 2021, expanding the stock of renewable energy by 9.1 percent.

“This continued progress is another testament of renewable energy’s resilience. Its strong performance last year represents more opportunities for countries to reap renewables’ multiple socio-economic benefits,” says Francesco La Camera, IRENA Director-General.

The world is adopting renewable energy at an unprecedented rate, with solar power leading the way and the shift towards energy transition is a significant factor in the rise of renewables.

The IRENA Director-General said, “Our current energy crisis also adds to the evidence that the world can no longer rely on fossil fuels to meet its energy demand.

“Money directed to fossil fuel power plants yields unrewarding results, both for the survival of a nation and the planet. Renewable power should become the norm across the globe. We must mobilise the political will to accelerate the 1.5°C pathway.”

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