With an estimated population of over 198 million, oil-rich Nigeria has carbon emissions soaring and put a strain on power supplies to a breaking point. To meet its current electricity output to guarantee supply for its booming population, Nigeria is turning to renewable energy.

The shift to renewables would strengthen the grid infrastructure to support its strong push towards rural electrification in the country. Ready access to electricity could help pull thousands out of poverty by providing steady incomes, healthcare benefits, and skill-building opportunities.

However, the transition to renewable energy could take time, given the country’s large unmet demand for electricity and need to rapidly ramp up economic growth. Steps are being undertaken to reduce carbon footprints while at the same time ensure housing, electricity, and food security for all of its population. Nigeria has set a target of expanding electricity access to 75% of its population by 2020 and 90% of its population by 2030. Moreover, it aims to generate 30% of its total energy from renewables by 2030.

According to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), oil and gas production accounts for around 35% of Nigeria’s gross domestic product and about 90% of total exports revenue.

In the past twelve months alone, the oil-rich country has invested over $20 billion in solar power projects. This would help boost the capacity of the national grid and reduce reliance on it by building mini-grids for the rural population without access to electricity.

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