Renewable energy technologies assessment in providing sustainable electricity to Nigerian rural areas.
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GARBA, A. 2017. Renewable energy technologies assessment in providing sustainable electricity to Nigerian rural areas. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis.
The research work that underpins this thesis aims to investigate the viability of renewable energy technologies (RETs) and to develop a RETs implementation framework for providing sustainable electricity to Nigeria’s rural areas. As a result of electricity supply deficiency in Nigeria, rural communities have been negatively affected in their socio-economic activities. A strength, weakness, opportunity and threat (SWOT) analysis in combination with an assessment of sustainability indicators of RETs, identified the most appropriate technology for providing sustainable electricity in Nigeria's rural areas. Biomass energy technologies (BETs) are the most appropriate RET given significant resource availability. However, cost has been identified as the major barrier in adopting BETs. Both BETs and grid extension (GE) systems have been assessed. Whole Life Costing (WLC) and interview methods have been used to evaluate the economics of various capacities of BETs and GE systems, and assessed suitability of BETs respectively. Typical findings revealed that all the BETs capacities evaluated other than a 50kW direct combustion system are currently cost-competitive with existing fossil fuel (FF) sources used in generating electricity in Nigeria (US$0.13/kWh without incentives). BETs are identified as the preferable option than GE system for electricity provision to communities of demand capacity less than 50kW and distance less than five kilometre from load centres. Similarly, the interview method confirmed that BETs utilisation in the country’s rural areas are suitable and desirable. For implementation, all the identified drivers and enablers of BETs should be considered, along with the identified constraints to the adoption and development of BETs, some of which should be addressed before implementation. Further, a BETs implementation framework for sustainable electricity provision in rural areas has been developed through the selection of appropriate biomass feedstock and conversion technologies, and support through suitable incentive strategies. The framework was then evaluated and validated using six villages as case study. The benefit of the framework is ensuring successful electricity provision in rural areas. Thus, this study recommends that the existing rural areas energy policies be reviewed to include incentive strategies like economic subsidies in order to encourage investors’ participation given lack of energy infrastructures in rural areas.