• Signs N8bn power deal with Osun state

gasFrance yesterday urged the Federal Government to caution all relevant authorities to drastically limit gas emissions because of its consequences on the environment.
According to Amb. Stephane Gompertz, France’s Ambassador for Climate Change, (Africa)
the country should reduce the flaring of its gas, and should also increase its investment in renewable energy.
Gompertz regretted that many oil companies in the country still flared their gas and thereby pollute the environment with its attendant consequences.
“There are some areas in which emissions could be limited drastically like gas flaring, which is the most striking example.
“It is a pity to see so many oil plants where gas continues to run and this is obviously a waste of energy and a waste of money.
“It (gas flaring) pollutes the atmosphere. Clearly some efforts are required. Other perspective is that it is good for the gas to be recuperated and then sold in the market.
“Perhaps, there should be fine for defaulting companies, which do not comply with the rules and regulations.
“But there are other examples of countries which have managed to eliminate flaring gas, which the country could emulate,” he said.
Gompertz pointed out that Nigeria was developing and would soon be the emerging power, adding that its emission would continue to grow but should put regulatory measures in place.
According to him, Nigeria will be one of the big industry powers in 10 to 20 years. Nigeria, South Africa and few other African countries are in the same camp.
“The population will continue to grow. So emission will continue to grow and this is inevitable. But the ratio of emission per capital should diminish and all unnecessary emissions should also diminish.
That is why it is important for countries like Nigeria to make efforts to embark right now on a greener project,” he said.
The envoy also cautioned against deforestation, particularly in the northern states to tame desertification. According to him, the gas wasted by the oil companies through flaring could be used to discourage deforestation and control desertification in the northern states.
“Deforestation should be stopped, especially in the North. People should be encouraged to use natural gas. This is easy to say but it is not easy to do.
“You have to change the habit of the people, you have to make sure that they have enough purchasing power to buy the gas, you have to be able to bring the gas up to the remote villages,” he said.
The ambassador, however, told NAN that the use of gas instead of firewood could be encouraged by giving free bottles of gas to the poor people in the rural area.
“I spoke with a lady, who is a leading official of the Ministry of environment and also works for an NGO.
“That NGO has distributed up to three million bottles of gas to rural women in poor areas. There are many areas in which some progress could be made,” Gompertz said.
In another development, Osun Government and France have signed an agreement to build a 35million Euros (N8 billion) 13 megawatts solar plant in the state.
Stephane Gompertz, France’s Ambassador for Climate Change, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday that the project was the first of such magnitude to be signed in Nigeria.
Gompertz said the agreement was signed on Friday by the Osun Governor, Mr Rauf Aregbesola and a French company, Vergnet, adding that France was supporting Nigeria in the area of renewable energy.
“As far as new and renewable energy are concerned, the French Agency for Development helps finance through credits, projects in new and renewable energy.
“On Friday morning, I was with the French Ambassador in Abuja. We were received by the Governor of Osun State. We signed an agreement with a French company called Vergnet.
“Vergnet will build a solar plant of 13 megawatts, which is quite big for a solar plant. And as far as I am concerned, this is the first project of such magnitude to be signed here in Nigeria.
“There will be other bigger projects going up to 50 or even 100 megawatts,” he said.
Gompertz said France had supported Nigeria’s power sector through its contracts and also through loans from the French Development Agency (AFD).
He explained that the agreement to build the solar power plant also included training component to encourage transfer of technology.
According to him, the more we develop new technologies, the more people are trained to manage or to invent those technologies, and this will on the long run contribute to the development.
He noted that in 2009, the Federal Government had assigned Vergnet to establish a wind farm of 10 megawatts in Katsina state for more than 20 million Euros (about N4.5 billion).
The envoy said the farm, with 37 windmills, should start producing and be connected to the grid in the beginning of 2016.
According to him, the French group, TOTAL, is also willing to develop a solar energy project in Katsina state.

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