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Renewables, natural gas a perfect pair for reliable flow of power in future—Minister

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has revealed that the best pair of power sources that will drive developments in the near future remains renewable sources and natural gas.

Speaking in his Ministerial Address at the 2nd Edition of the Power To Power Summit organised by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), Port Harcourt Section in collaboration, he averred that “The Summit theme is not only timely but apt and in sync with the national gas policy which articulates the vision of the Federal Government of Nigeria, sets goals, strategies and an implementation plan premised on past experiences faced by Nigeria when we had a full-blown energy crisis in spite of our abundant gas resources.

The summit was put together by the SPE in partnership with DorisDesmond Nigeria Limited with the theme ‘The Future of Energy Transformation and Utilization: Status, Prospects and Challenges’.

Represented by his Technical Adviser (TA), Gas Business & Policy Implementation, Mr Justice Derefaka, who doubles as the Program Manager, Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (NGFCP),   said “I understand that this year’s summit is intended to usher in a rare opportunity for symbiotic engagements between the Petroleum and Energy Industries to discuss the future of Energy Utilization with a focus on solutions and technologies that will aid the transition to renewable based clean energy systems with zero carbon emissions.

“Energy is the quiet backbone of our society, driving our economies, communities, businesses and homes. The energy landscape is currently undergoing transformation in every aspect, from the sources and technologies used, to the investors and beneficiaries, to the impacts on our environment and communities.

“The energy industry is changing rapidly. As we strive to reduce carbon emissions and safeguard the planet for future generations, the way we produce and consume electricity is shifting. In this move away from fossil fuels, renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, are growing exponentially and are set to account for nearly 70% of global electricity production in 2050.

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Program Manager , Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialization Programme (NGFCP), and Technical Adviser to the Minister on Gas Business and Policy Implementation, Mr Justice Derefaka

Sylva averred further that “The rapid decline in renewable energy costs, improving energy efficiency, widespread electrification, increasingly “smart” technologies, continual technological breakthroughs and well-informed policy making all drive this shift, bringing a sustainable energy future within reach.

“Note also that renewable energy needs to be scaled up at least six times faster for the Nation to start to meet the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.

“Sustainable development is a contested concept and varies with priorities attached to social, economic, and environmental goals. Hence, the one‐size‐fits‐all type of solution model needs to be widened, to speed up action in the short to medium term.

“What does that mean? It means that natural gas can be an important complementary transition fuel to support renewable energy in the short‐ and medium‐term transition phases. This means that the goal of zero fossil fuel as a short‐ and medium‐term solution needs to be re-evaluated.

The Minister argued, however, that “Whilst we are looking at the transition to renewable based clean energy systems for the future, we should not forget that to get out of oil and gas, we need oil and gas. I say this because, in a world of surging energy demand, we will need to mobilise the Nation’s entire mix of energy sources unless we want to risk condemning millions of Nigerians to energy poverty. And in that mix, natural gas, as the cleanest burning fossil fuel, will play a prominent role in the decades to come.

Continuing on issues concerning renewable, Sylva argued again that “Agreed renewable energy will play a key role in the transition to a lower-carbon future, but bear in mind that renewables are irregular. And solutions for storing power when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing are either dependent on location or very expensive, especially in the case of seasonal storage. They need an ally and a partner, such as natural gas, to maintain a reliable flow of power,” the Minister stressed.