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FG urges investment in green hydrogen

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By Abraham Adekunle

Worldwide demand for the clean energy is estimated to rise by 700% in 2050.

According to Nigeria Energy Transition Plan (ETP), President Muhammadu Buhari announced at COP26 that Nigeria is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2060. In other words, Nigeria is looking to achieve net zero by 2060. One of the ways that has been identified to achieve this is by transitioning from the use of fossil fuels to clean energy, such as from kerosene to cooking gas. For instance, the Federal Government has said it will phase out kerosene by 2030.

In light of this ambitions, the Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, made a call to consider investments in green hydrogen. He urged the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) to take into account investing in green hydrogen for clean energy. Osinbajo said discussions around green hydrogen is intensifying and countries and corporate entities are taking advantage of huge investments globally. It has been predicted that the worldwide demand for green hydrogen, a low-carbon energy alternative, is expected to climb by 700 percent by 2050.

Energy Transition Plan charts a strategy for the country future energy.

According to the vice president, Nigeria should be thinking in terms of greener gas to achieve this ambition. “We must embrace the opportunity to harness our vast natural gas resources responsibly and judiciously, and while simultaneously setting a path towards a cleaner and greener future,” he said. He said the government sees solar and renewable energy as the bedrock of the ETP. A part of the plan is to develop about 250 gigawatts of solar plants by 2060 when Nigeria is supposed to achieve net zero.

The plan also includes how to replace generators in line with the universal electrification goals. This will require about 6.3 gigawatts by 2030. Also, it includes how to expand the transmission and distribution network; support full utilization of current capacity and expansion of centralized capacity; and upgrade central generation capacity to achieve 42 gigawatts of operation capacity in 2030. In fact, Mohammed Dahiru Aminu (who has a PhD in Carbon Capture and Storage) said Nigeria is well-prepared to produce and make maximum use of green hydrogen.

Germany already exploring green hydrogen in Nigeria.

Green hydrogen (GH2) is hydrogen generated by renewable energy or from low-carbon power. Green hydrogen has significantly lower carbon emissions than grey hydrogen, which is produced by steam reforming of natural gas and which makes up the bulk of the hydrogen market. It may be used to decarbonize sectors which are hard to electrify, such as steel and cement production, and thus help to limit climate change—the ultimate goal of net zero.

Earlier in the year 2023, stakeholders in Nigeria’s energy sector gathered in Abuja to brainstorm on ways of improving ETP using green hydrogen to boost power supplies. The meeting was organized by the German government, the African Network for Solar Energy, and the Renewable Energy and Energy Sufficiency Association (REESA). The head of German-Nigerian Hydrogen Office, Gina Lagunes, said that at the time, the German government was having a dialogue with the Federal Government, the public and private sectors as well as the academia to develop an enabling framework for hydrogen.

Nigeria has a lot of potential in renewable energy resources.

Lagunes said that the German government was in the process of finalizing a study on policy regulation framework for hydrogen in Nigeria that would include energy development. “We are carrying out hydrogen potential for the country and we are working also on establishing a working group on development of national hydrogen strategy,’’ she said. Meanwhile, Aminu (a PhD holder) confirmed that Nigeria is blessed with renewable energy resources such as wind, solar, biomass and hydropower. He said that hydropower has the greatest renewable energy potential in Nigeria, from which the country could harness up to 10,000 megawatts for large hydropower and 734 megawatts for small hydropower setups.

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