Petroleum Minister Challenges PTDF Scholars on Renewable Energy

Ibe Kachikwu, Minister of State for Petroleum, said Nigerians trained under the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) in future must ensure a dependable renewable energy system in the country.

Kachikwu said this at a seminar on: “Addressing future challenges of the energy sector: The renewable energy path’’ on Monday in Abuja.

``It is expected that some future PTDF scholars will undertake split-site programmes in universities we are in partnership and our universities in Nigeria to ensure rapid growth of renewable energy industry in Nigeria.

``Specifically, scholars under this arrangement will research on projects situated in Nigeria or direct relevance to Nigeria Energy sector.

``They will also have local host university in Nigeria,’’ he said.

According to him, doing the above will make their research much more Nigerian’s need driven.

Represented by the Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Alhaji Yaya Karafi, he said participation of collaborating nations in the seminar was to deliver on already signed bilateral agreement on renewable energy development.

He named the country to include United Kingdom, Brazil and Germany, adding the idea of gathering everybody together was to chat a way forward.

He added that capacity must be translate the potentials of renewable energy sources in Nigeria to mechanism of economic development.

This, he said, would help to identify, explore and manage the renewable options since nature had blessed every nation with varieties.

``Our experiment as a nation has clearly shown that all possible means of expanding energy access must be explored.

``While the power requirement to drive Nigeria's socio-economic development stands at over 50,000MW, we currently generate less than a tenth of that.

``We are not able to make any local contribution to the Ethanol blending project which was aimed at reducing emission from our fossil fuel,’’ he added.

He said economic development would be high if Nigeria was able to generate about 20,000 MW of electricity from renewable sources.

He commended PTDF for its strategy on building capacities in the renewable energy sector value change which was the strategic vision of the ministry.

Acting Executive Secretary PTDF, Mr Aminu Galadima, said some of the interventions of the fund on renewable energy included proposed training of about 50 scholars in renewable energy.

``These scholars upon graduation will return to Nigeria to impart the knowledge in the country.

``Also, PTDF in collaboration with some institutions in Brazil and Germany, in view of expansion of the overseas scholarship scheme, will focus on areas that cover renewable energy,’’ he said.

He added that the fund had proposed a partnership with France, with N+i Engineering institutes and the Education Arm of French Embassy to fund research in renewable energy.

He said that more was needed to be done toward effective long-term development of renewable energy technologies.

He noted that government financial incentives should be continuously reviewed for increase in commercial market.

He called for campaign and awareness on the development of the sector.

Also, Prof. Feargal Brennan of Cranfield University London, said Nigeria needed to tackle challenges of long term investment on expensive technology.

According to him, areas of training, expertise, storage, reliability and maintenance must be enhanced.