There is no doubt that the entire world and indeed Nigeria has started feeling the impact of the much talked about climate change. The current devastating flooding which has ravaged almost every part of the country is a clear indication that climate change is real. On a daily basis in recent weeks, it has been tales of flood ravaging one community or the other, washing away houses, farmlands, crops , animals and human beings just as hundreds of thousands of people have been rendered homeless. With this ugly development, nobody needs to be told that climate change is real
Another environment issue that has not received serious attention from our policy makers is the matter concerning clean energy and environment degradation. For some time now, the issue of clean energy is being discussed at various levels of governance and privately but the unfortunate thing is the fact that the policy makers appeared not to have really understood what the issue is all about. And if they understand, it seems that they may not be interested in it. Be it as it may, our government at all levels, especially in the Northern part of Nigeria, should wake up from slumber and confront the issue of clean energy in the region head-on.
It is no exaggeration to say that the entire land in the far North is being taken over by desertification. From Maiduguri to Yobe, Jigawa to Kano, Katsina to Zamfara, Sokoto to Birnin Kebbi and now to parts of Kaduna and Niger states, desertification is gradually enveloping the land. In addition to this natural disaster, due to non-availability or high cost of energy for domestic use, trees are being felled for firewood for domestic cooking as alternative energy. Where kerosene is available, the rural dwellers may not be able to afford the price just as the cost of cooking gas is out of the reach of the masses.
It was against this backdrop that the management of Developmental Association of Renewable Energy (DARE), a Kaduna-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), has embarked on an aggressive sensitisation and enlightenment of the rural populace on the use of the Save 80 Fuel Wood Stove that conserves the use of firewood. In fact, over 80 percent of rural populace in the Northern part of Nigeria use firewood as alternative source of energy. No wonder, therefore, that the incident of tree felling is more pronounced in the North despite the fact that desertification is threatening the region.
Chief Executive Officer of DARE, Yahaya Ahmed, who spoke recently to some members of African Adaptation Programme (AAP) Nigeria Media Network during a visit to DARE facilities (as part of the Network’s tour of the nation’s approved Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project sites) in Kaduna, said Nigeria has abundant clean energy that could serve the entire nation for both domestic and industrial use.
The Save 80 Fuel Stove is one of the five approved Nigerian CDM projects by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Others include: Recovery of Associated Gas (that would otherwise be flared) at the Kwale Oil-Gas Processing Plant, owned by AGIP; Pan Ocean Gas Utilisation Project in Ovade-Ogharafe; Asuokpu-Umutu Marginal Field Gas Recovery Facility, owned by Platform Petroleum; and, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Composting Project in Ikorodu, Lagos State, registered December 2010 and owned by EarthCare Nigeria Limited.
Ahmed said: “What the nation needs is to key into the new technology and our energy problem will be a thing of the past. In fact, the cost of kerosene to cook for a family is too high that the people cannot afford and that is why we came out with the cook stove which we call ‘Save 80’. The ‘Save 80,’ in a nutshell, saves 80 percent of the firewood normally used on the traditional stove. Apart from the fact that using ‘Save 80’ cook stove saves money, saves the environment health wise, the smoke that comes out of this stove is very little; unlike the traditional firewood smoke which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised alarm over its devastating effect on women.”
According to him, this year, DARE has registered the pilot scheme and, after verification by United Nations auditors, “we have registered for another big project for the whole of Nigeria because the first pilot project was successful. At the end of this project, emission reduction will be very high because, in the small scale project, we are supposed to save 30,000 tons per annum for using 12,500 stoves while in the new project which we are thinking of producing a minimum of 100,000 stoves, we are expected to save over 1,120,000 tons of emission reduction per annum if the entire project takes off.”
Obviously, the efforts of DARE in the provision of alternative energy can only be appreciated when one visits the CDM project site. Key players in the power sector can take advantage of the revolution taking place at DARE with a view to ensuring development in the sector especially in terms of energy efficiency towards the protection of the environment.
The notion is that if the Nigerian government can collaborate with the organisation, the country would be able, to a considerable extent, address its energy-related challenges. Again, if the country is to achieve the desired goal of being among the first 20 economies in the world by the year 2020 (20:2020), the leaders have to be seriously thinking towards collaborating with groups that have the technology and manpower to realise this goal. It is not an exaggeration to say that the current energy crisis in Nigeria today is lamentable.
Conducting the environment reporters round the project site, Ahmed described efforts being made by his organisation towards taking clean energy to the grassroots. Apart from sensitising the rural populace on the advantages in using the Save 80 stoves, prices of the products, he disclosed, are heavily subsidised just as they (the stoves) are of a variety which can be purchased at affordable price.
According to industry experts, Nigeria needs more environment-friendly source of energy to curb pollution and land degradation by embracing modern technology that enables the reduction of carbon emission into the atmosphere.
By Thomas Adejo