Energy is the mainstay of Nigeria’s economic growth and development. Oil and gas sector contribute about 70% of government revenues. Meanwhile the exploitation of these resources contributes to environmental degradation resulting in air and water pollution, soil erosion, etc. especially in the Niger-Delta region. Electricity supply in Nigeria is very low compared to other countries.
At present, only 40% of the population (mostly urban areas) is connected to the grid. The rest of the country depends on private stand alone generators and fuel wood for their energy needs.
Even with the ongoing restructuring of the power sector and the privatization of generation, distribution and transmission companies in Nigeria, rural areas which are remote from the grid and/ or have low consumption capacity will not be attractive to private power investors.
The absence of reliable energy supply has not only left the rural populace socially backward but has left their economic potentials untapped. Fortunately, Nigeria is blessed with abundant renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, biomass and small hydropower potentials.
The logical solution is increased penetration of renewable energy into the energy supply mix as a viable solution to the energy challenges of Nigeria especially in the rural areas of the country. Surprisingly, no concrete policy plans have been made by the government of Nigeria to promote the use of Renewable Energy despite its potentials.
On the other hand, they are a wide range of renewable energy projects on pilot scale financed by foreign NGOs and research institutes in the country, thus raising the question, why these projects have not been deplored on a larger scale in the country. Based on this assumption, the goal of this qualitative, comparative policy analysis is to find out whether the availability of oil and gas resources (revenue) hinders or favors the development of renewable energy in Nigeria.
The research would be based primarily, but not exclusively, on the Rentier State Theory focusing on two economic periods in Nigeria i.e. periods before and after the oil boom. Renewable energy projects developed by the state were built in the period immediately after independent before the oil boom. Support by government for Renewable Energy declined extensively as Nigeria experience oil boom in late 1970s.