As we stand, the whole world is moving away from fossil fuels. By 2050, our crude oil will be useless as no one will want it. I can even see the UN introducing new environmental; regulations that may limit its use. Our first priority must be to get all new industrial concerns to generate their own power. Nowhere in the world today are industrial start-ups dependent on the national grid for their power supply.
We get Innoson Motors to start manufacturing solar panels as they are the most needed piece of industrial equipment in Nigeria today. Solar panels are far more urgent than assembling cars and I am at a loss as to why your Nnewi factory is not churning them out by the millions on a daily basis.
Every country in the world has one industrial giant that spurs its development. Mitsubishi (Japan), Vauxhall (UK), Siemens (Germany), Ford (US), etc are all part of their national infrastructure. Innoson is our national manufacturer and is central to Nigeria’s industrialisation. It thus needs all the backing it can get.
Our government should also be offering interest-free loans in conjunction with banks to anyone who wants to buy a solar panel. Under my proposals, traders will get up to N10,000 from the government through the Bank of Industry (BoI). I would rather supply them with solar panels for that cash so they can generate their own electricity.
Under the Trader Moni programme, if the government gives you N10,000 and you refund it within six months, then you are qualified to collect N15,000. If you pay back the sum of N15,000 you are qualified to get N20,000. If we introduce this with solar panels and I trust our people. Within two years, we will have numerous solar millionaires as happened with the GSM market.
Nigeria’s power crisis is actually easy to solve if we are serious about it. We need to compel every one of our 774 local government areas to have a microgrid connecting all the homes and businesses within its jurisdiction. If we can generate the power from solar, distributing it across a local government area is never going to be as traumatic as the headaches we have with the national grid whereby you have to transfer electricity from Lagos to Maiduguri or from Calabar to Sokoto.
Building mega hydro-electric plants is good but they will still leave the problem of distribution unsolved. If, say the Mambilla Power Plant is functional today, distributing power from Adamawa State to the rest of the country will be the next big challenge. In contrast, if every local government area and every state government is compelled by law to generate its own power, distribution ceases to be an issue. Each state government musty thus be given a power generation target.
Our federal government also needs to place a punitive tax on solar panels imports of about 300% to force manufacturers to locate their plants in the country. This consumerism is simply going too far now and something drastic needs to be done. We are already the world’s largest importer of medium and small generators. It is highly embarrassing that we shamelessly import generators, so must not make the same mistake with solar panels
I would also like us to build four offshore waste-to-power plants in Eta Oko, Brass, Nembe and Umon Island with an electrify generation target of about 5,000MW. We should also engage global customers with international waste delivered by sea
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It is estimated that around 3% of global annual plastic waste enters the oceans each year. An estimated 299m tonnes of plastics were produced in 2013 but in 2025, the annual input is estimated to be about twice greater. Bear in mind the global demand for plastic waste management market was valued at approximately $24bn in 2017 and is expected to generate revenue of around $29.8bn by the end of 2024.
Imagine what Nigeria could do with just $10bn of this. We should set ourselves a revenue target with regards to generating money from converting waste to power.
These manufacturing facilities would be surrounded by wind farms, with undersea pipes constructed to ferry local waste to them. A power plant would exist on the coast to convert all their power to electricity and our target should be to create 100,000 jobs.
As part of this project, we should also have factories converting waste into finished goods as is done elsewhere. For instance, in Beijing, Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde can construct a Smog Free Tower that captures carbon from the atmosphere, refines it and releases the clean air back into the city and then converts the compact carbon into diamonds.
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This technology is incredibly effective as the air around the tower is 55% to 75% cleaner than the rest of the city. This tower, which has been used in Rotterdam, Beijing, Tianjin and Dalian, sucks up 30,000 cubic meters of polluted air per hour.
Ayo Akinfe, born in Salford, Manchester, is a London-based journalist who has worked as a magazine and newspaper editor for the last 20 years. Ayo attended Federal Government College Kaduna and obtained his first degree in history from the University of Ibadan.