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Monday, February 10, 2020

Power to Nigerians: Lumos to the rescue - NaijaAgroNet

Clamour for affordable clean energy for all is the Sustainable Development Goal 7, REMMY NWEKE in this piece, examines how Lumos 'Yellow Box' is coming to the rescue of Nigerians for renewable energy solutions.
Never Expect Power Always (NEPA) for most Nigerians mean different things. For a child that alerts family on return of public power supply with resounding ‘Up NEPA!’ to a mother who simply declares, ‘Thank God for NEPA’ and father who laments the inability of National Electric Power Authority (NEPA); a public utility for the supply of electricity to the entire citizen, reputed for lack of service but forceful payment of NEPA bills, otherwise the little shared power supply may be disconnected.

And when disconnected, the following-up exercise with NEPA officials to reconnect you after payment and arming yourself with receipt, may not still give you power without tips to the field electricians and area marketers, could take a whole day, which requires you abandons every other thing to queue after the ‘tin god’ field officers.

On the other hand, due to shared electricity of one-day on, one-day off, you were able to save and buy a generating set, at least, the one called ‘I better pass my neighbour’ only to discover that you provide more power time for yourself than NEPA. This forced some industry watchers to describe ownership of any generating set as an individual independent power supplier and overhead maintenance cost and attendant misperformance, courtesy of unwary mechanics.

These are synopsis of some key reasons most Nigerians do not expect public power supply always.

Average temperature in Nigeria:

In the midst of this, Nigeria is known as a tropical nation that could be very steamy and dry. According to online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, “there are a total of four climate types which affect the weather in the region. Those are the equatorial monsoon or tropical rainforest climate, tropical Savannah climate, tropical dry climate and Alpine climate.

To sum up if Nigeria is hot or cold, the ClimatesToTravel experts noted that in the northern Nigeria, winter is warm and dry; it could get uncomfortably hot during the day, up to 40 °C (104 °F), but it's usually cool at night, and even get cold in the northern hilly areas, where cold records are around freezing (0 °C or 32 °F).

For instance, an average temperature for Lagos, the commercial centre of the nation, is between 73 and 92 Centigrades or Celsius unit of temperature, all year round, in line with Climate-zone. Succinctly put, 0°C is the freezing point of water and 100°C is the boiling point of water. Centigrade is an old fashioned name for Celsius, which could be shortened to °C.

So, for possible alternative options in a Nigerian like environment, solar power sounds more reasonable, because as a reliable and resilient energy source, when installed, generates clean, renewable energy round the year.

Although cold weather reportedly prevents solar panels from heating up, but a solar panel will still do its job so long there is sunlight and cold temperature will not impact electricity production. Factually, hot climates could cause solar panel overheat. Thus, solar panels actually produce electricity more efficiently in cold weather. In winter months, solar panels will brighten user’s day and home.

Energy Efficiency by 2020:

The 2013 Power Sector Reform targets renewable energy technologies to contribute to the overall goal to achieve 18 per cent of electricity generation from renewables by 2025 and 20 per cent by 2030 across the small-hydro: 2,000MW (600MW in 2015); solar photovoltaics: 500MW; biomass-based power plants: 400MW (50MW in 2015); wind: 40MW and electrification level of 75 per cent in 2025 (60 per cent in 2015);

While the National Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy developed by the Federal Ministry of Power as at 2014 and was approved by the Federal Executive Council in 2015, consolidated previous policies, with main aim at developing power generation through renewables and energy efficiency capacity by 2020.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that the Rural Electrification Strategy and Implementation Plan is a follow-up to the primary objective to expand access to electricity as rapidly as possible in a cost-effective manner via grid and off-grid approaches from renewable and thermal sources in rural areas.

Noteworthy is that Nigeria is a signatory to the Kyoto protocol and has in place a National Policy on Climate Change and Response Strategy for implementing climate change activities in the country.

How affordable is clean energy:

As global population continues to grow, so also will demands for cheap energy, thus investing in solar, wind and thermal power to improve energy productivity, and ensuring energy for all is vital if we are to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 by 2030.

According to the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, António Guterres, whose office is leading a Sustainable Energy for All initiative to ensure universal access to modern energy services, improve efficiency and increase use of renewable sources, “Expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology to provide clean and more efficient energy in all countries will encourage growth and help the environment.”

UN facts and figures available to 
NaijaAgroNet showed that energy is the main contributor to climate change; to the tune of about 60 per cent of greenhouse gases. Just as one in seven persons still lacks electricity, and most of them live in rural areas of developing countries. Pointing out that more efficient energy standards could reduce building and industry electricity consumption by 14 percent.

Special Report on Goal 7:

Presenting the 2019 special edition “Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals Report” the Secretary-General, Mr. Guterres, at a high-level political forum on sustainable development, convened under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council, noted that Goal 7, which is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all; that access to electricity in the poorest countries has begun to accelerate, energy efficiency continues to improve and renewable energy is making gains in electricity sector.

He underscored the fact that despite this progress, some 800 million people remain without electricity while access to clean cooking fuels and technologies needs dedicated attention. In addition, if SDG 7, 13 and related goals are to be met, much higher levels of ambition are required with regard to renewable energy, including transportation and heating.

Global electrification rate, he said, rose to 87 per cent in 2015, with increased acceleration to 89 per cent in 2017. But, some 840m people around the world are still without access to electricity. While global share of the population with access to clean cooking fuels and technologies reached 61 per cent in 2017, stressing that despite this progress, close to 3 billion people still rely primarily on inefficient and polluting cooking systems.

He said, “The renewable energy share of total final energy consumption gradually increased from 16.6 per cent in 2010 to 17.5 per cent in 2016, though much faster change is required to meet climate goals. Even though the absolute level of renewable energy consumption has grown by more than 18 per cent since 2010, only since 2012 has the growth of renewables outpaced the growth of total energy consumption.

"Global primary energy intensity per ratio of energy used per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) improved from 5.9 in 2010 to 5.1 in 2016, a rate of improvement of 2.3 per cent, which is still short of the 2.7 per cent annual rate needed to reach target 3 of Sustainable Development Goal 7.

"International financial flows to developing countries in support of clean and renewable energy reached $18.6 billion in 2016, almost doubling from $9.9 billion in 2010."

Lumos to the rescue:

For a graphic artist, Mr Bayo, not having sufficient lights during the Christmas and New Year seasons to make designs for as many as possible, hence he began search for possible options and by the time he finished analyzing various cost implications, resolved to try the Lumos Mobile Electricity powered by MTN Nigeria Communications, equally called MTN Yellow Box; following series of messages he received before Christmas day, as to install and get on month and when recharged one month, he would get another month free. Thus attractive and affordable to acquire with about N25,000, which is less than $ 68.633 USD.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that the MTN Yellow box afforded Bayo access to electricity whenever needs arise, which, stood it out because no need to start the generating sets and when you compared even if its only N1000 every two days used in fueling the genset, its better imagined the saves he made, outside the comfort he gained without disturbing his neighbours with gen-sounds and emissions as every day presents a little sunshine, he literarily must have electricity for hours.

Bayo explained that his Lumos lights up his sitting room which serves as current workshop plus kitchen, and charges his two mobile phones and power appliances including two rechargeable fans, LED TVs, and two laptops.

Bayo told 
NaijaAgroNet sagely he can afford power now from both Direct Current (DC) from the solar, which is compatible with appliances and Alternative Current (AC) compatible appliances with this Lumos Mobile Electricity system, namely with DC having up to 100 Wax (accumulative) and 12 Voltage.

By using the AC component, he said, appliances of up to 60W and 220 Volts, stressing, MTN maintained the box cannot support air conditioners, deep freezers, refrigerators, electric cookers, washing machines, AC ceiling fans among others.

But for anyone to join this service, he said, must first obtain an MTN Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card which is linked with the service to enable customers recharge with airtimes, which is another plus.

NaijaAgroNet also gathered entails a certified and authorized installer coming to the location to complete the process, via customer’s mobile phone.

One of the key lessons learnt, according to Bayo in using Lumos Mobile Electricity for a while now is that when the ‘yellow’ display button is ‘on’ it means the power is switched off and when the ‘off’ is displayed, the light will be on for use and any connection will be supplied light.

Whereas the advantages of solar power like Lumos, NaijaAgroNet reports, is that pollution reduce drastically as no greenhouse gases to be emitted after installation; dependence on fuel for generating set and fossil fuels. Renewable clean power that is available every day of the year, even cloudy day produces some power to sustain a small business like Bayos.

And for growing Nigerian, desirous of electricity without much ado, moreso a small business entrepreneur like Bayo, if we must and is ready to reduce unemployment, especially among the youth and innovative minds, who want to change the electricity narrative in Nigeria to always not only to expect power but constantly use to improve the socio-economic activities, definitely, Lumos comes to the rescue.

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