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Renewable Energy Potential

Physical Potential

The huge potential for renewable energy in the country is mostly untapped. Barriers to the development of renewables include: the large oil and gas production in the South together with government fuel subsidies, the lack of clarity/market information on private sector opportunities, and a general knowledge gap concerning financial support mechanisms available within the country.

Solar Potential

Nigeria has enormous solar energy potential, with fairly distributed solar radiation averaging 19.8 MJm2/day and average sunshine hours of 6h/day. The assumed potential for concentrated solar power and photovoltaic generation is around 427,000 MW. According to estimates, the designation of only 5% of suitable land in central and northern Nigeria for solar thermal would provide a theoretical generation capacity of 42,700 MW. In July 2016, 14 Greenfield Independent photovoltaic (PV) power projects with a capacity of 1,125MW had their PPAs signed by the Federal Government owned NBET.


Global Horizontal Solar Irradiation in Nigeria

Source: SolarGIS


Hydro Potential

Hydropower has been a cornerstone of grid-powered generation in Nigeria for decades. 15% of current power generation sources in the country are hydro based. The country is reasonably endowed with large rivers and some few natural falls. In all parts of Nigeria, potential sites for unexploited small hydropower exist, with an estimated total capacity of 3,500 MW. A multitude of river systems, providing a total of 70 micro dams, 126 mini dam and 86 small sites, supply a technically exploitable large hydropower potential estimated to be about 11,250 MW. Under recent circumstances, only 17% is being tapped. Potential large investments in some significant hydropower sources and even some plans, such as the dam for the Mambilla plateau in northern Nigeria, have been struggling due to large investments cost required and lead times needed. The potential for small hydro power is about 3,500 MW, with just about 64.2 MW being exploited. By 2020, the Nigerian government aims to have increased the hydroelectricity generation capacity to 5,690 MW. This projection shall be met through an upgrade of old hydroelectricity plants and the installation of new hydro power plants.


Hydro Power development by the Federal Ministry of Power (2014)


Power Station Capacity (MW) Status
Zungeru project 700 financing secured
Mambilla Project 3050 under development
Gurara II Project 360 under development
Gurara I Project 30 under development
Itisi Project 40 under development
Kashimbilla Project 40 under development


River Basins with large and small scale hydropower potentials

Wind Potential

The Wind energy potential in Nigeria is very modest, with annual average speeds of about 2.0 m/s at the coastal region and 4.0 m/s at heights of 30m in the far northern region of the country. Based on wind energy resource mapping carried out by the Ministry of Science and Technology. Wind speed of up to 5m/s were recorded in the most suitable locations, which reveals only a moderate and local potential for wind energy. The highest wind speeds can be expected in the Sokoto region, the Jos Plateau, Gembu and Kano / Funtua. From the study, Maiduguri, Lagos and Enugu also indicated fair wind speeds, sufficient for energy generation by wind farms. Apart from these sites, other promising regions with usable wind potential are located on the Nigeria western shoreline (Lagos Region) and partly on the Mambila Plateau.

A 10MW wind farm projects is currently being built in Katsina, and expected to be completed in 2017.


Wind resource potential in Nigeria


Biomass Potential

The biomass resources of Nigeria are mainly crops, forage grasses, shrubs, animal wastes and waste arising from forestry, agriculture and municipal and industrial activities. Crops such as sweet sorghum, maize, and sugarcane are the most promising feedstock for biofuel production. According to estimates, the daily production of animal waste in Nigeria is about 227,500 tons, which could lead to about 6.8 million m3 of biogas. Though the technology itself is not yet established in the country, a variety of research covering different aspects of biogas production in Nigeria, such as technical feasibility or policy recommendations, are ongoing.

Summary of Renewable Energy Potentials in Nigeria


Resource Potential Comments
Large Hydropower 11,250MW 1,900MW exploited
Small Hydropower 3,500MW 64.2MW exploited
Solar 4.0kWh/m2/day – 6.5kWh/m2/day Significant potentials for solar infrastructure; both for on-grid and on-grid use
Wind Average of 2-4m/s @ 10m hub height Moderate wind potentials in the country.
Biomass Municipal waste 18.5 million tonnes produced in 2005 and now estimated at 0.5kg/capita/day
Fuel wood 43.4 million tonnes/yr of fuel wood consumption
Agricultural residues 91.4 million tonnes/yr. produced
Energy crops 28.2 million hectares of arable land; 8.5% cultivated

Source: ECN (2014), Energy Implications of Vision 20: 2020 and Beyond, Report no.: ECN/EPA/2014/01

Key figures

Available statistics:
Official language
Population (2018 est.)
Population growth (2018 est.), %
Median age (2018 est.), years
Urbanization rate (2015 - 2018), % p.a.
Urban population (2018), % of total
Rural population (2018), % of total
Population density (2018), per km2
HDI (2018)
157 of 188
National Currency
Naira, NGN
Exchange rate (July 2019), USD
1 USD = 360 NGN
GDP (2018), USD million current
GDP growth (2016), %
GDP annual growth rate forecast (2020), %
GNI per capita (2018), PPP current intl USD
Inflation (Dec. 2018), % y-o-y
Inflation Rate Forecast (2020), %
Foreign Direct Investment, net inflows (2017), BOP current USD millions
Net official development assistance (2017), current USD millions
Budget deficit (2018), % of GDP
Ease of Doing Business (2018), rank of 190
TI Corruption Index (2018), rank of 180
Installed Generation Capacity (2016), MW
Installed Fossil Fuel Capacity (2016), % of total installed capacity
Hydro Capacity (2017), % of total installed capacity
Other RE Capacity (2015), % of total installed capacity
Renewable electricity output as % of total electricity output excl. hydro (2017)
Avg. distribution and transmission losses as % of output (2015)
Net electricity imports (2017), %
Electrification rate, total (2017) %
Electrification rate, urban (2017) %
Electrification rate, rural (2017) %
Peak demand (2015), MW
Per capita electricity consumption (2016), kWh
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