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Science &Technology Minister harps on popularising solar energy

Prof Ita Okon

The Minister of Science and Technology, Prof Ita Okon, has advocated the use of solar energy technology devices to make electricity more affordable to Nigerians.  Okon made the call in Enugu on Monday at the 3rd International Workshop on Renewable Energy for Sustainable Development.

He said that popularising solar energy would also help to mitigate the effects of climate change and reduce high cost of electricity in the country.  The minister, who was represented by Prof Pius Okeke, the Director, Centre for Basic Space Science in the ministry, pledged that the government would continue to provide enabling environment and adequate funding for research-based organisations.

“I wish to stress that Nigeria is in dire need to popularise solar energy devices as one way to make affordable energy available to Nigerians and for climate change mitigation.  “This is my challenge to you. We are aware that solving global climate change problems will require ambitious goals and innovation solutions.  “In this respect, my ministry is determined to make renewable energy and energy efficiency research programmes development-focused and solution-oriented to our energy challenges.

“My ministry will continue to do all our best to provide the enabling environment for research in terms of adequate funding.’’   On his part, the Director-General of the Energy Commission of Nigeria, Prof Abubakar Sambo, stressed that access to renewable energy was essential to the economic, social and political development of the country. Sambo, represented by Mr Johnson Ojosu, the Director, Energy Planning and Analysis Department of the commission, advised that gradual replacement of the normal energy sources to renewable energy would help Nigeria to meet the African Energy Commission target by 2050.

“2050 may look far in our eyes but we need to start gradually in order to meet the target of the African Energy Commission of having 100 percent renewable.’’  Gov. Sullivan Chime of Enugu State pledged the commitment of the state towards developing small off grid power projects for schools, hospitals and rural communities.  Chime, represented by his Special Assistant on Environment and Solid Mineral, Mrs Jane Ugwu, said the state government would partner with the commission to provide affordable renewable energy to citizens of the state.

“One of the ways out of Nigeria’s energy problem is to develop and harness renewable energy which is a clean development mechanism.  “Enugu State is ready to work with the organisers of this workshop on the modalities of developing affordable renewable energy technology in the state.  “The state is interested in developing small off grid projects for school, hospitals and rural communities.”

Some participants at the workshop suggested involvement of the private sector in order to sustain renewable energy in the country to meet the Millennium Development Goals.  Highlight of the event was the presentation of award of excellence to Gov. Peter Obi of Anambra, Rev. Fr Godwin Nzamuja, founder of Songhai Farm, Portnovo, and Miss Evelyn Oputu, Managing Director of the Bank of Industry, for their enormous contributions toward the development of renewable energy.  Mr Kevin Mbawike, representing an Imo -based company, Eco-Power Resources Limited, was also honoured. (NAN).

Source: News Agency of Nigeria