GREEN or renewable energy refers to energy derived from naturally replenished sources with minimal environmental impact. These sources are considered “green” because they produce little to no greenhouse gas emissions or air pollutants when generating electricity or heat. Some common forms of green or renewable energy include, solar energy, which involves capturing sunlight using photovoltaic cells (solar panels) to convert it into electricity or using solar thermal systems to produce heat for various applications. Then there is wind energy. Wind turbines capture the kinetic energy of wind to generate electricity. Wind farms can range from small installations to large-scale utility projects Hydropower (Hydroelectric Energy) harnesses the energy of flowing water, typically through dams or river turbines, to generate electricity while geothermal energy power taps into the Earth’s natural heat by using steam or hot water from underground reservoirs to generate electricity and provide heating.

Also, we have tidal and wave energy. These forms of energy capture the kinetic energy of ocean tides and waves to generate electricity. Fossil energy, also known as fossil fuels, refers to hydrocarbon-based energy sources derived from the remains of ancient plants and animals that lived millions of years ago. These fuels are called “fossils” because they are formed from the fossils of ancient organisms. The three primary types of fossil fuels are: 1. Coal: This black or brownish-black sedimentary rock primarily comprises carbon and various other elements. It is the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel and is used for electricity generation and industrial processes. 2. Crude oil: Also known as petroleum, crude oil is a liquid hydrocarbon mixture found underground. It is processed in refineries to produce various products, including gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel, used for transportation and multiple applications. 3. Natural Gas: This is a naturally occurring gas composed of methane. It is often associated with oil deposits but can also be extracted separately. Natural gas is used for heating, electricity generation, and as a fuel for vehicles.

Fossil fuels have been the dominant energy source for many decades due to their energy density and ease of use. However, their combustion releases carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change and environmental pollution. As a result, there is a growing global effort to transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources, such as renewable energy, to reduce the environmental impact of fossil fuels. Between 2010 and 2021, the amount of electricity generated in the U.S. from fossil fuels diminished by 13 per cent, while the amount of electricity provided by renewable resources other than hydro increased by about 250per cen. EU fossil fuel generation fell by a fifth in the first half of 2023. Automakers have become the new renewable energy investors, with several of them making sustainability a core part of their business strategy.

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According to the United Nations, Cheap electricity from renewable sources could provide 65 percent of the world’s total electricity supply by 2030, which could decarbonize 90 percent of the power sector by 2050, massively cutting carbon emissions and helping to mitigate climate change. Nigeria must invest in green and renewable energy for several reasons, First, it has environmental benefits. Fossil fuels contribute to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, leading to climate change and health issues. Transitioning to renewables can reduce these negative impacts. Then there is the issue of energy security. Relying on fossil fuels makes Nigeria vulnerable to global energy price fluctuations. Investing in renewables can enhance energy security by diversifying the energy mix. Another benefit is economic diversification. Nigeria’s economy heavily depends on oil exports. Investing in renewables can diversify the economy and create new jobs in the green energy sector.

Sustainable development is another factor. Green energy projects can provide sustainable electricity access to remote areas, improving the quality of life and supporting rural development. Again, we have to consider global trends. The world is shifting towards clean energy, and Nigeria should align with global trends to attract investment partnerships and meet international commitments like the Paris Agreement. And yet another factor is technological advancements: Renewable energy technologies are becoming more affordable and efficient, making them increasingly attractive options for power generation. Finally, there is the question of energy access. Millions of Nigerians lack access to reliable electricity. Green energy can help bridge this gap, leading to social and economic development.Nigeria must buy into green and renewable energy for a sustainable and prosperous future.

Akinuli is an energy expert



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