Constant and adequate power supply remains one of the major challenges affecting businesses especially manufacturing firms in Nigeria despite the huge tariff cost. Consequently manufacturers are forced to provide alternative energy for themselves.
This however poses another problem as they are forced to contend with the incessant rise in the cost of diesel and liquified natural gas. Daily, manufacturing companies incur huge losses as a result of dependence on power supply for business operations.
According to United States Agency for International Development USAID’s energy sector review, Nigeria has the ability to generate 12,522 megawatts (MW) of electric power from existing plants, but it is only able to distribute around 4,000 MW, leaving local manufacturers to self-generate around 13,000MW through alternative sources of energy in order to stay afloat.
In 2020, manufacturers spent N81.91 billion providing alternative energy for their operations. This was a 33 percent increase when compared to the N61.38 billion expended in the same period of 2019, according to data from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN)
Experts say that the high energy cost of these companies threatens the existence and continuity of the businesses as they are forced to produce at a higher cost and are unable to transfer the cost to cash-strapped consumers. Furthermore, the cost is not limited to funds alone as the environment is made to suffer on account of high rate of carbon emissions
Presently, firms are changing the narrative by embracing and tapping the opportunities renewable energy has to offer, one of these firms embracing the renewable energy alternative is Nigerian Breweries Plc (NB).
NB, one of Nigeria’s largest brewer recently took a bold step with the commissioning of a 666.3kWp solar power plant installed to power its Ibadan Plant, one of its brewery locations.
The solar plant, designed and executed by Cross Boundary Energy Limited, is an outcome of an agreement reached between the latter and Nigerian Breweries Plc to provide clean energy for a 15-year term with the off-grid made available to operate for another 10 years.
The renewable energy initiative, according to Nigerian Breweries Plc, is part of Heineken’s Drop the C programme, which aims to increase the share of energy produced from renewable sources from 14 percent to 70 percent by 2030.
Furthermore, it aligns with the company’s drive to achieve carbon neutrality in its production process by 2030, starting with a thirty percent reduction in carbon emissions.
The installation of the Solar PV Plant in Ibadan Brewery, is unique in many ways given the fact that it is the first brewery plant in Nigeria where renewable energy solution would be used.To achieve this, 1680 solar modules were installed on the roof monitors and the main roof of the brewery.
Built at the cost of over N300 million,The plant is expected to supply approximately 800 megawatts of power of solar electricity to the brewery annually thereby providing a significant reduction to the current cost of power,while also reducing the site’s Carbon Emissions by over 10,000 tonnes.
One advantage of the renewable energy transition for the society is that challenges associated with power supply in the Ibadan environs would be resolved since 4 percent of load shedding from the national grid would be realized. Even though current power supply to the brewery plant is still at 4 percent, it is expected that the Plant will be expanded to contribute 20 percent of total brewery power by 2022.
With the Solar Plant fully operational in Ibadan Brewery, the company is said to save an estimated cost of N23 million yearly on electricity consumption. The renewable energy transition would not only save cost and boost production process for Nigerian Breweries Plc but also help enable energy access by people within the locality, hence a win-win situation for the brewer and its host community.
Jordi Borrut Bel Managing Director, NB described the project as a first of its kind in the manufacturing sector, adding that the new development will help the company reduce dependence on diesel and other fossil fuels, while adopting cleaner and renewable energy sources beneficial to the company and the environment.
“we believe that Nigeria’s renewable energy sector can provide much needed green job, tap global capital, improve access to affordable reliable power for businesses and enable Nigeria to fulfill its economic potential. Beyond solar energy we are also exploring powering our breweries situated in suitable climates with alternative energy from wind, biogas and hydroelectric energy,” he said during the commissioning of the project.
He also said that the company is already developing other renewable energy plants in its other breweries to ensure that 70 percent of electricity used in all of its breweries are powered from clean and renewable sources.
The MD pointed out that the company was playing a strategic role as a key investor in the Nigerian economy, leveraging on its pedigree and commitment to adopting latest technology designed with world-class safety and quality standards to protect the environment particularly, its host communities.
Oluseyi Makinde Governor, Oyo State, commended the company for its commitment to trailblazing and innovative investments in Nigeria despite the tough business environment.
He affirmed that the solar plant would promote environmental sustainability and hoped that the commissioning of the Ibadan Solar Plant would be the first in the series of numerous renewable energy projects in the company’s transition towards green, affordable and cleaner energy.
Muhammad Mahmood, Minister for Environment, who was present at the commissioning described the initative as an important milestone in tackling the challenges of climate change and environmental sustainability in the country.
Mahmood who was represented by Adeshola Adepoju, Director General, Forestry Research Institute of Nigeria, said beyond protecting the environment, It will also ensure a balance between development, economic, social and environmental sustainability for present and future generations.
“This admirable initiative will significantly contribute to effectively tackling climate change, while enhancing energy security. It will also help in creating jobs, reducing industrial carbon footprint, transiting to a low carbon resilient economy as well as making our economies more resilient to future energy crisis.”, he added.
The brewer also plans to extend this new development in its breweries located in other Nigerian states starting with the Aba brewery, Ama brewery in Enugu, and the Lagos brewery.