Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Rural Nigeria lights up with solar power + PH Burning???

Article by Micheal Simire on SciDev.net

Nigeria has launched a solar power scheme that will eventually light up as many as ten rural communities with no access to the national electrical grid. A Lagos state government official, who wished to remain anonymous, said construction work had commenced on the respective projects and contractors were expected to start delivering them around mid to late January 2008.
Some 5,000 people — living in villages in the Badagry, Epe, Eredo and Ojo local government regions — are expected to benefit. The project's estimated cost of 150 million Naira (about $1.25 million) is being funded by the state Ministry of Science and Technology.
Laudable start although 10 communities of 5000 people is hardly enough in a country of 140 million.

A pilot project began in May at the fishing village on Bishop Kodji Island, a low island of about 5,000 people between the Atlantic Ocean and the Lagos lagoon. For the first time, villagers have television in the community hall as well as power to the churches, mosques and schools.The lifespan of the panel is 30 years according to the manufacturer. Also thereis little or no maintenance: all the villagers need is to clean dust from the panels. The deep gel battery will last for 10 years," said Adenike Boyo, director of science and technology at the Directorate of Policy, Programmes and Promotion — the ministerial department that will oversee the project.
If the panels are so low maintenance and durable, that is definitely great what with our society not being a paragon on issues of maintenance. Its also good that it is a renewable energy source, so no artificial scarcity and unnecessary price raises are to be expected. No generator fumes, no noise, much much less emissions are some of the other great things about this.
Solar energy can be used for the most mundane things like street lights and parking meters and it is great that we are finally catching on.


The government of another state, Imo, in eastern Nigeria is utilising solar energy to power streetlights and other ancillary services. Government spokesman Steve Osuji said that the innovation is coming under the current administration’s 'Clean and Green Initiative', whereby Owerri city and other major towns in the state are being given a facelift. A similar government project, launched in 2002 with assistance from the Japanese government, has lit 200 rural communities in Imo, Ondo and Jigawa states as well as the capital Abuja.

Combining renewable energy with more traditional energy sources is definitely the future even for developed nations, so this is the way to go -although a thorough revamp of PHCN should definitely remain high on the list.

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Fighting in PH

Its difficult to know if its Militants or just plain outright criminals who are killing, looting and causing general mayhem in Port harcourt. What a terrible way to start the year - my heart goes out to the people of that formerly sunny city who have been caught in the battle between unscrupulous politician and criminals as well as sometimes militants.

I know this is probably easy for me to say since I am not directly affected and safely far away, but I believe that only the people have the power to put an end to these senseless activities. The people of Port Harcourt need to stop cowering and take decisive action in protest. I know that protest will probably turn bloody, but silence is bloody as well - many people have died and lost their means of livelyhood in the past few months, so silence is not the answer. These men who are carrying out these unspeakable acts also have family - parents, wives, children - these people need to speak out. That is if they still have any semblance of conscience left in them.

2 comments:

Toks- Boy said...

Marin thanks for picking up on this subject. Whilst the initial installations are still for smaller communities I look forward to the day when a country with so much sunshine has to rely less on NEPA and more on NATURE.

However, I cannot help but pray that these installations do not fall to the same fate as another Solar install that I read about in Nigeria last year. Apparently after a few months the people in the village started connecting all sorts of additional devices and even people from the next village started "tapping" the electricity only for the whole thing to blow up!

Marin said...

Hi toksie,
I think the main problem is ignorance - so these efforts must be combined with massive information campaigns. Not something we are noted for though.

I think if the people from village A know that they could end up with no light at all if they keep connecting stuff or if they allow village B residents to "tap" they'll think twice. Better still combine the awareness campaign with making it a sort of social enterprise so they have to pay something for it - in such a case, I believe people tend to be more careful than with free stuff.

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