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April 2005



Repowering-New Chances

Article by Dennis Etim Inyang-Mbekwe (NEPED) contact.

»Were a tradition is lacking a striking example is necessary«

My visit to Gada a border town in Sokoto State Nigeria, with Niger Republic, was quite revealing and serves to educate me on the challenges of implementing wind energy project. A windmill that uses to pump water said to be about 30 years old hanged delicately and dilapidated, people now fetch water manually. They seem to be no local capacity to handle repair of the windmill and the only known function of a windmill to them is pumping water-a legacy of colonialism. Gada is a local Government headquarters that got connected to the national grid through Ilella just 5 month ago, it is rural but other villages in the local government still live without electricity. Poverty pervades despite the high potentials as manifested by abundant agro raw material and mineral resources.

Like Gada wind energy potentials abounds in most northern state in Nigeria and offshore in the south. The know-how and capacity to tap wind energy for power generation is not known to exist in Nigeria. The erratic supply national grid leaves 55 % of the population without any access to electricity. Only 20 % of those having access live in rural areas. 50 % of energy consumption in the country is fuel wood this affects the health of women and children. It increases the level of deforestation, which leads to soil erosion in the South of the country and desertification in the north. In result the agricultural output decreases and poverty increases. Furthermore it contributes to global climate change. With depleting stock of fossil fuel globally estimated to be exhausted in 40 years, the consequences of this for Nigerians given the over dependence on oil will become greater as the terminal date approaches. Since 1980s the country has suffered recurrent strikes and conflict arising from fossil fuel price fixing, the real palliative measure lies in massive adoption of renewable energy and energy efficient technology that harnesses energy from the sun, wind, water, biomass and biogas, heat from the earth and Ocean waves tides or thermal energy stored in oceans.

Repowering offers opportunity to jump-start Independent Power Project IPP in the Northern state in Nigeria using second hand wind turbines, especially when combined with solar energy to make up for the period of low wind speed. The policy environment favours IPP, as some state in the south are already using the abundant natural gas from petroleum exploration for power generation within the context of IPP arrangement.
Creating awareness for renewable energy potential is a vital step to promoting wind energy, which calls for the following line of action to be taken against perceived barrier (aptly articulated in the YES manual on renewable energy) namely:

Nevertheless, to overcome the barrier to renewable energy, which invariably can promote the right energy-mix to serve the needs of communities including the use of wind turbine-which will be more appreciated in terms of cost compared to other available resources, the following steps can be taken:

Repowering will penetrate Nigerians market easily using the carbon funds mechanism to create example of workable IPP project, building the capacity of CSO and the private sector to play a role. Such project should consider an integrated approach that taping solar energy to turn the blade to make up for period of low wind speed.

Published May 2005

Further reference: Second-hand wind turbines

Wind data