Nigerian scientists challenged to develop optimal solar energy systems to solve energy problems

June 22, 2021
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As Nigeria as a nation continues to face challenges in the power sector, scientists in the country have been challenged to continue to apply their skills and training to develop optimal solar energy systems while the Federal Government should introduce and enforce regulatory measures to encourage and regulate power.

Also, the Federal Government should protect local capabilities; provide financial and fiscal incentives to facilitate penetration of the use of renewable energy sources especially solar energy.

These were part of the recommendations contained in the 45th ATBU inaugural lecture titled, ‘Developing Renewable Energy Strategies for Decarbonisation of Nigeria’s Energy Mix: Need for Emotional Intelligence’ delivered by Engr Prof Adisa Ademola Bello.

He stressed that Nigeria should put in place a well-coordinated and coherent energy policy, which will serve as a blueprint for sustainable development, supply and utilization of energy resources within the economy, and for the use of such resources in international trade and cooperation.

Also, he recommended that The policy must not fail to address the issues of energy manpower development, indigenous participation, domestic self-reliance, energy needs various sectors of the economy, energy sector financing as well as private sector participation.

Ademola Bello who is a Professor of Renewable Energy further stated that there should be a Purposeful research drive to link Meteorological and Allied Data Collection, Storage and Processing to the National Energy Development model, particularly the Renewable Energy Option along with other via energy options.

Conscious research drive towards locally produced Solar Panels with enhanced mechanisms of photovoltaics and photo-catalysis and the Balance of Components including electrochemical storage systems such as lithium and lithium phosphate batteries should also be encouraged.

Further, Nigeria through the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) should establish a working team within Africa Renewable Energy Commission (AFREC) to promote Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) development while the National Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) should be empowered to set up appropriate r regulations for electricity and fuel.

In the same vein according to him, the ECN should serve as a national focal point of Renewable Energy (RE) coordination, evaluation, monitoring and development because it is important to establish a harmonized and robust regulatory framework and technical standards.

The lecturer also called that the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) should be empowered such that Standards, codes specifications for Renewable Energy systems can be set and enforced while the Bank of Industry (BON) should be empowered to create a Renewable Energy Fund which is essential to catalyze and grow the sect providing a source of cheap fund to service providers as well as the source of subsidies.

He, however, observed that It is a very important need to revert back to Outcome-Based Education Curricular that incorporates the skills and abilities that are valued by both universities (tertiary institutions)and employers, including Self-and context-awareness.

It also included decision-making and action planning. Research and analysis; Communication skills and critical reflection.

He opined that the near failure of the energy sector in Nigeria particularly in the supply of electricity in the nation has necessitated the aggressive search for other forms of energy sources to enrich the energy mix.

He stressed that renewable energy source particularly the solar energy resource has been shown to be viable and will help to decarbonize the Nigerian energy mix as the Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) and Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) have been identified as the promising technologies for large scale applications in distributed electricity generation in both short terms and in the long term considering that the CSP technology is encouraged especially in North-East Nigeria.

Ademola Bello is confident that integrating vision 30-30-30 with Goal 7 of the SDGs will ensure a situation closer to round the clock electricity supply in Nigeria by 2030 especially if embedded power plants are used to bridge the demand-supply gap near heavy load centres and if off-grid power plants are deployed to communities far away from the transmission grid.

According to him, energy efficiency and conservation best practices is an energy management mechanism that reduces the demand and therefore supply, of energy through the deployment of efficient energy systems, appliances and habits.

Renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation are therefore the preferred energy supply and management instruments for sustainable development.

The lecturer also stated that the concerted research and development of indigenous technologies and indigenous capacity building that support the integration of bio-based fuel to the energy mix and new technologies to store power from renewables as well as Smart Grid and Renewable Energy Synchronisation into the existing energy mix will improve access to the population.

Universities and indeed all tertiary institutions need to be aware of industry demands on graduates because there is the need to integrate EQ skills in modern education; improving such skills will help students to become better communicators, team workers, and reflective and empathic practitioners of engineering.

The Strategies to be adopted should according to him include Public Awareness: Sensitise the general public on the potentials of solar energy technologies for use and thereby generate its market because it is important to promote Renewable Energy technologies as an alternative source of energy supply through workshops, jingles and demonstration pilots.

Further, The organized Private Sector Development Partners and Entrepreneurs should be encouraged to support the development and use of renewable energy especially solar energy.

Government and the private sector: should provide incentives, financial and otherwise, to encourage the general public on the use of solar energy systems throughout the country. They should actively support Engineers, technologists and scientists in the area of research and development activities to cater for the specificity of designs for all parts of the country.

Capacity Development is Local human and manufacturing capacity building which is imperative at high skilled levels for the long term development of Renewable Energy Technologies. Engineers, technologists.

The University Don also said that Incorporating elements of EQ learning in studies, rather than as a separate study unit or module, will link learning and work attitudes, including motivation, creativity and interpersonal skills, with the tasks at hand, such as project work.

He further stated that Encouraging students to learn these new skills through project work activities and in student-centred learning will succeed more than would a standalone lecture on EQ; theory with practice does not run very far.

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Nigerian scientists challenged to develop optimal solar energy systems to solve energy problems

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