Renewable Energy Potential

Renewable energy potential

The huge potential for renewable energies is largely untapped. This is due to four main reasons: substantial oil and gas production in southern Nigeria together with government fuel subsidies; the widespread use of standby diesel generators among the population; the lack of clarity on private sector opportunities; and a general knowledge gap concerning financial support and technological challenges. Nevertheless, new policy regulations regarding RE offer new investment opportunities.



Nigeria has enormous solar energy potential, with fairly evenly distributed solar radiation averaging 19.8 MJ/m2/day-1 and an average of six hours of sunshine a day. The assumed potential for concentrated solar power and photovoltaic generation is around 427,000 MW. According to estimates, if only 5% of the suitable land in central and northern Nigeria was designated for solar thermal use, this would provide result in theoretical generating capacity of 42,700 MW.


 Yearly average of daily sums of global horizontal irradiation

Source: Solar Radiation: PVGIS © European Communities, 2001-2008 HelioClim-1 © MINES ParisTech, Centre Energetique et Procedes, 2001-2008


Hydropower has been the cornerstone of grid-powered generation in Nigeria for decades. The country is reasonably endowed with large rivers and a few natural waterfalls. There are unexploited potential sites for small hydro plants across Nigeria, with an estimated total capacity of 3,500 MW. A multitude of river systems, providing a total of 70 micro dams, 126 mini dams and 86 small sites, could potentially supply technically exploitable hydropower capacity of about 11,000 MW. At present, only 19% of this is being tapped or developed. Potential large investments in significant hydropower sources, and plans such as the dam on the Mambilla plateau in eastern Nigeria, have been struggling due to the large amounts of funding and lead times required. The Nigerian government aims to increase hydroelectric generating capacity to 5,690 MW by 2020 – a fourfold increase on 2012. This target will be met by upgrading old hydroelectric plants and installing three new ones: Gurara II (360 MW), Zungeru (700 MW) and Mambilla (3,050 MW). The plant in Zungeru will be built in cooperation with the Chinese government, with the Export-Import Bank of China covering 75% of the cost.


Source: Federal Ministry of Power Nigeria


Wind energy potential is very modest, with annual average speeds of about 2.0 m/s in the coastal region and 4.0 m/s at heights of 30m in the far north of the country. Two large-scale wind projects are currently under development in Kano State (30 MW) and Katsina State. They can provide first-hand experience on operating conditions and perspectives for grid-level wind power in Nigeria, and will be significant for further policy decisions.


Nigeria Wind

Source: NEW ERA ENERGY Nigeria Ltd.


Nigeria’s biomass resources mainly comprise crops, forage grasses, shrubs, animal waste and waste from forestry, agriculture, and municipal and industrial activities. Crops such as sweet sorghum, maize and sugar cane are the most promising feedstocks for biofuel production. Estimates put the daily production of animal waste in Nigeria at about 227,500 tonnes, which could produce about 6.8 million m3 of biogas. Though the technology itself is not yet established in the country, wide-ranging research has been carried out into different aspects of biogas production in Nigeria, such as technical feasibility and policy recommendations.


Licenses granted RE projects

Name of Licensee Capacity (MW) Fuel Type State Geopolitical Zone
JAP Energy Limited 504 Biomass Lagos South-West
Premier Energy Limited 50 Hydrogen fuel cell Adamawa North-East
Rook Solar Investment Limited 50 Solar Osun South-West
Quaint Global Nigeria Limited 50 Solar Kaduna North-West
Nigeria Solar Capital Partners 100 Solar Bauchi North-East
Anjeed Kafanchan Solar Limited 10 Solar Kaduna North-West
Lloyd and Baxter LP 50 Solar Abuja North-Central
KVK Power Pvt Limited 50 Solar Sokoto North-West
Pan African Solar 54 Solar Katsina North-West
Mabon Limited 39 Hydro Gombe North-East
JBS Wind 100 Wind Plateau North-Central

Source: The Nigerian Energy Sector (GIZ, 2015)