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Nigeria rises up to carbon and energy issues

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By Abraham Adekunle

Industrial response to decarbonization and energy security in the country.

In Nigeria, a nation characterized by its vibrant industrial landscape, the intersection of decarbonization and energy security has emerged as a pressing challenge. Wale Yusuff, the Managing Director of Wärtsilä in Nigeria, sheds light on how businesses operating in energy-intensive sectors like cement and steel are navigating these complexities. With a focus on securing reliable and efficient power, while simultaneously advancing decarbonization goals, Nigerian industries are increasingly turning to flexible engine technologies to address these twin imperatives.

The country stands as a major industrial hub, home to a plethora of energy-intensive manufacturing enterprises. However, the growth potential of these industries is hampered by the inadequacies of the country’s electricity supply infrastructure. To mitigate this challenge, industrial players have historically relied on self-generated power, often through costly and polluting diesel generators. Consequently, Nigeria’s industrial sector has emerged as one of the largest contributors to the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. In the broader African context, the development of renewable energy capacity presents a compelling solution for industries seeking to reduce both their environmental footprint and energy costs.

Dual imperative of reliable power and decarbonization.

However, in Nigeria, the situation is nuanced. The majority of industrial activity is concentrated in the southern region, where wind and solar resources are not always abundant, making renewables less competitive given current equipment prices. This dynamic presents Nigerian industries with a dual imperative: ensuring reliable and affordable power supply while integrating decarbonization strategies into their energy portfolios. However, these objectives do not need to be mutually exclusive. Forward-thinking enterprises such as BUA Cement, African Foundries, Lafarge, Wempco, Nestle, and Flour Mills are leveraging innovative technologies to address both challenges simultaneously.

At the forefront of this effort is the adoption of flexible engine power plants, which have emerged as the preferred technology for Nigeria’s industries. These power plants offer fuel flexibility, enabling operation on various fuels, including gas, heavy or light fuel oil, and the potential for future transition to sustainable fuels like biofuels and green hydrogen. Modular and scalable, these plants boast rapid deployment capabilities, high operating efficiency, and the ability to integrate intermittent renewable energy sources seamlessly.

BUA Cements’ flexible power investment boosts efficiency.

For BUA Cement PLC, a leading cement producer in Nigeria, investment in flexible power solutions has become a cornerstone of its energy strategy. Through modular deployment, BUA Cement has incrementally expanded its power capacity, enhancing operational resilience and efficiency. By leveraging Wärtsilä’s dual-fuel engines, capable of operating primarily on LNG and PNG, BUA Cement has achieved greater flexibility in fuel sourcing, ensuring uninterrupted operations while reducing its carbon footprint. Furthermore, the adoption of gas engine power plants by energy-intensive industries not only facilitates decarbonization but also complements Nigeria’s long-term energy objectives.

By unlocking the potential of natural gas reserves in the south and renewable resources in the north, these industries contribute to broader efforts to strengthen the nation’s energy infrastructure and expand access to clean energy. Paras Energy serves as a prime example of this symbiotic relationship between industry and renewable energy development. Through the installation of a Wärtsilä gas engine power plant, Paras Energy has not only met its steel production needs but also supplied electricity to the national grid, benefiting thousands of households annually. Additionally, the company’s investment in solar power further underscores its commitment to sustainable energy solutions, contributing to Nigeria’s renewable energy transition.

Related Article: Nigeria’s decarbonization plan risks job loss

To sum up, the convergence of decarbonization and energy security presents both challenges and opportunities for Nigeria’s industrial sector. By embracing flexible engine technologies and investing in sustainable energy solutions, Nigerian industries can enhance their operational efficiency, competitiveness, and environmental stewardship. Moreover, these investments pave the way for broader national energy transformation, driving progress towards Nigeria’s decarbonization goals and fostering inclusive economic development. As industry leaders continue to navigate this evolving landscape, their commitment to smart energy investments will undoubtedly shape Nigeria’s energy future for the better.

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