A techno-economic appraisal of renewable energy in remote, off grid locations in Nigeria : Obudu ranch as a case study
Ogunleye, Lawrence Olawale
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Energy is central to economic development. It has been established that there is a clear correlation between energy consumption and living standards. Nigeria is a country of very industrious and enterprising people. However, due to non availability of adequate energy in the country, especially in the remote, off grid locations, the entrepreneurial inclination of the average Nigerian living in these locations has been largely stunted. Over the years, successive governments in the country, in realisation of the pivotal role of energy in national development, have explored various options to improve energy supply and availability, but the situation has not experienced any remarkable improvement. This has forced many businesses and households to resort to self provision through generators, often at exorbitant costs. This research work addresses the challenge of energy in remote, off grid locations by appraising the techno economic potential of renewable energy, using Obudu Ranch as a case study. This ranch is the foremost tourism resort in Nigeria, and has played host to a number of international events over the years. Presently, electricity is being generated through the use of diesel powered generating sets. The adjoining communities are currently without electricity, although a few of the residents have acquired generators for self provision, mostly for their domestic use. Aside the high cost associated with this, the discharge of noxious contaminants into the atmosphere is undesirable. The research entailed a working collaboration with some notable Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that have done extensive ground work in the area for access to some secondary data, as well as a number of corporate and governmental agencies that are relevant to the study. Further, the ranch was visited to establish hands-on, the existing renewable energy sources. A trade-off of these sources was carried out with reference to a number of relevant evaluation parameters to identify the most suited option for addressing the energy challenge. A comparative analysis of this selected source was then made to establish its techno economic potential against the existing source of power generation- diesel powered generating sets, which currently costs R1.5 million annually in running expenses. The findings from this research have established that a Renewable Energy source (mini hydro) is a more cost effective option than the diesel powered gen set, providing a 43% reduction in cost of energy generation, and a 42% reduction in the life cycle cost over the five year of analysis, compared to the status quo. In addition, it is also more environmentally friendly. Conclusively, the findings and recommendations of this research effort, if well implemented, will be beneficial to the ranch, the adjoining communities and other relevant stakeholders.
- Engineering