Experts in the Mechanical Engineering sector have said that sustainable development can only be achieved when driven by renewable energy efficiency coupled with the right political will.

This assertion was made by the experts at the opening of the 34th International Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers on Wednesday, in Abuja.

The theme of the conference is ” Harmonisation and Optimisation of Nigeria’s Energy Potentials for Sustainable Development”.

The experts agreed the world over is shifting from fossil fuel to renewable energy and Nigeria could not afford to be left behind in also seeking for alternative sources to grow it’s economy.

The Director-General, Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) Prof. Bala Jidere, in his Keynote address said Nigeria is endowed with huge resources in both fosils and renewables.

‘The theme is apt because the whole world is talking about sustainable energy supply because of climate change yes we are oil producing country but you see the challenge is facing us now and that is why we are talking about equity in the energy transition.

“There must be fairness in the energy transition because country like ours depend  al ot on the oil and gas and indeed gas is an alternative, gas can be a transition fuel and therefore there must be some fairness.

“Otherwise poverty will hit the country a lot  or most of the developing countries. 

The capacity now is about 13gigawatts but perhaps just about half is available and less than that gets to the consumer.

“Of course these are the issues that with the political will are been resolved and that is why Siemens came in through the cooperation between the Nigerian government and the  German government,” he said.

He added that the government had the political will and was working hard to ensure that more capacity were installed.

“Just like I mentioned, you have the Manbila is coming on board Gurara is coming on board Manbila about 3gigawatts.

” Zungeru is about 700 megawatts and then Gurara too is about 300megawatts and recently small hydropowers are going  to be concessioned to private sector to invest inside and generate electricity.

“The challenges are that we have to ensure that we have the political will and the political  is actually been shown by this present government on the concept of deployment of renewable energy for sustainable development.

 He also said Nigeria must adapt international best practices and adequately coordinate its MDAs to avoid duplication of function in the area of renewable energy efficiency.

On his part the Lead Speaker, Prof. Bagudu Danshehu, Coordinating Director, Engineering Infrastructure, National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), said “renewable energy is there and is long exists unlike fossil fuel which will run out in the next 50 years.”

According to him, renewable energy is the life wire of human activities and since the fossil fuel might soon run out, the task is now for engineers to innovate ways of converting them for use.

“Developing countries of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are well known for their over-dependence on traditional energy sources due to poor technological access.

“It is estimated that 2.7 billion people worldwide rely on the traditional use of biomass for cooking. Most of these people are living in Sub-Saharan Africa, India  and other developing  Asian countries.

“Renewable energy sources are in principle non-exhaustible as they are always available on a clclic or periodic basis and they do not emit greenhouse gases.

“Renewable utilisation being free from global warming and the sources being inexhaustible are the preferred pathways for sustainable energy development, and Nigeria has it in abundance in biomass, wind, solar and hydro in different degrees of sustainability potentials.” Danshehu said.

He, therefore, called for an integration of large scale renewable energy technologies in the nation’s energy mix in Nigeria’s quest for achieving energy security.

Earlier in his remarks, the National Chairman of the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Prof. Mohammed Ndaliman, said that affordable and reliable energy availability is a precondition for sustainable development.

“Sustainable development calls for an efficient, reliable and decentralised energy economy based on local and clean energy sources.

“There is clear evidence that Nigeria is blessed with abundant resources of fossil fuels which accounts for 16 per cent as well as biomass and waste that accounts for almost 83 percent  of the energy resources.

“The major challenge is inefficient utilisation of energy in the country. There is no doubt that the power crisis afflicting Nigeria will persist unless the government diversifies her energy,” he said.

He was optimistic that at the end of the conference solutions would be preferred by the resource persons on the way forward for the nation on its quest for solutions using renewable energy resources available in the country.

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