ARTICLE:: How Sustainable Is The So-Called Sustainable Energy For The Future?By Adewale Giwa
Published on 5 December 2014
Currently, research and development programs focusing on renewable energy, energy efficiency programs and legislation regarding sustainable energy have been receiving a huge attention from stakeholders in the energy industry. Several projects with enormous financial requirements have been proposed for this sustainable development drive but there are still a lot of debates among policy makers about the future relevance of these initiatives.
Currently, research and development programs focusing on renewable energy, energy efficiency programs and legislation regarding sustainable energy have been receiving a huge attention from stakeholders in the energy industry. Several projects with enormous financial requirements have been proposed for this sustainable development drive but there are still a lot of debates among policy makers about the future relevance of these initiatives. The energy source in the future will likely be a hybrid of centralized power facilities and substantial distributed generation plants of higher energy efficiency. However, there is still a radical belief among some stakeholders in the energy industry that the prospect of the so-called sustainable energy to ensure economic viability of energy in the future cannot be ascertained.
Nigeria, as a country, has witnessed unprecedented rise in innovations, ideas and proposed projects regarding sustainable energy in recent times. Notable anticipated innovations and projects include the 9jaBOLT Solar Car which will be built by indigenous collaborators to compete at the World Solar Challenge in October, 2015;the 420MW Nigerian-German Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy Projects (REEPS)which will provide solar power for nine northern states; andSkyPower FAS Energy’s3000 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale solar photovoltaic projects in conjunction with the Federal Government and Delta State Government. International organizations such as JICA have also concluded plans to provide solar electricity in Nigeria through their developmentalprogrammes. However, the question many people have asked is: Can the world’s energy resources be converted to useful secondary and final energy using renewable technologies at costs roughly comparable to those of conventional methods? The conversion of these renewable energy sources to satisfy world’s energy consumption would be a massive undertaking but this is undoubtedly achievable in the future. Some studies have revealed that there are no insurmountable technological or economic hurdles to transforming the whole world to clean, renewable energy sources. It is a question of whether there is the administrativeor societal will to make this happen. A total dependence on renewable energy in the years to come is foreseeable if there are plans for using wind, water, biomass, and solar energy to generate consistent renewable power and retrofitting the conventional power plants with sustainable energy sources, with wind and solar power probably contributing the most significant chunk of the needed energy. One of the major difficulties of sustainable energy sources is that they can vary highly with environmental conditions, which has raised concerns about whether each source is reliable enough to provide the minimum amount of energy that must be available to customers at any given hour of the day. However, this variability can be overcome. This can be overcome by combining these energy sources as one commodity through hybrid processes, in such a way that the deficits of one can be overcome by the other. By doing this, demand can be precisely met by supply in most cases.
Carscan be powered by electricity from solar batteries. Airplanes can run on liquid hydrogen or biodiesel. Homes can be cooled and warmed with electric heaters connected to distributed renewable energy grids – no more natural gas or coal – and water could be preheated by the sun. The quest for a sustainable future through the use of clean energy sources can also be attained by quantifying what is necessary in order to replace all current energy infrastructure – for all purposes – with environmentally friendly infrastructure. By doing this, there will be significant reduction in world energy demand since energy efficiency would be guaranteed. That reduction in the amount of power needed, along with the millions of lives saved by the reduction in land, water and air pollution from elimination of fossil fuels, would help keep down the retail costs of power.
Nigeria is situated in the equatorial region with about 1500billion MWhof solar energy per yearincident on her surface. A very small fragment of this energy is enough to provide electricity for all Nigerians. The intention of Nigeria to commence nuclear energy generation, as presented in March by the Nigerian Government at the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague is also realizable. It is an honest opinion that a sustainable Nigeria powered by renewable energyis not only possible but highly probable if there is consistent push for advanced technology which will force down the cost of renewable energy.