The Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says plans are underway to set up an energy renewable plant that will use agro products to generate energy.
Its Group General Manager in charge of Renewable Energy Division, Mr Rabiu Suleiman, stated this during a courtesy call on Governor Samuel Ortom at the Government House in Makurdi.
Suleiman said the project, which would cost about 300 million dollars, would be financed through joint partnership with foreign partners.
He said the corporation had already secured technical partners that were ready to support the project.
Rabiu said the decision to diversify energy generation from existing sources to agricultural products was conceived by the Federal Government in 2005 but had been in the pipeline.
He, however, said that the incumbent administration of President Muhammadu Buhari had already taken initiatives to begin the diversification programme.
He commended the Benue Government for providing 20,000 hectares of land for the projects’ take-off and assured that the land would form part of its equity share of the plant.
Rabiu said when completed, the plant would boost economic growth and create employment for the people of the state.
He said the land would be used for the cultivation of sugarcane, cassava, palm kernel for the extraction of ethanol as a renewable energy source.
“Apart from ethanol which will be sourced from the agricultural products, we can also make fertilisers and animal feeds from their byproducts.”
He said the Federal Government also identified seven other states for its renewable energy project but said the success of the Benue plant would determine the take-off of the other projects.
Rabiu also said the NNPC was also exploring various other sources of fuel in the Chad Basin and the Benue trough.
Ortom assured the NNPC delegation that his administration would provide adequate security to both the expatriate and local staff engaged in the plant.
He also commended Buhari for considering Benue as a pilot project of the agricultural renewable programme.
In a related development, Ortom purchased 20 sets of home made tricycles from an indigenous fabricator at the cost of N4.5 million.
He commended the fabricator, Mr Augustine Chenge, for his creativity and urged the youth to learn from his initiate by being productive agents of society.
In his remarks, Chenge said the decision to fabricate the tricycles was borne out of a desire to contribute to the agricultural development of the state.