An exclusive interview with Professor Xiongwei Liu, from Entrust Microgrid of the Lancaster Environment Centre in the UK, explores smart micro-grids based on hybrid DC/AC networks, for environments with renewables. 

What in your view are the challenges to the energy sector in Nigeria and the region?
The challenges facing the energy sector in Nigeria and broad Africa may be summarised as:
a) to secure energy supply and address energy poverty for those in need;
b) to ensure affordability of energy for the public, particularly for those in need;
c) to ensure sustainability of energy supply.

Put it in the context of current development, Nigeria and most areas in Africa are short of energy/power supply and lack of grid/gas infrastructure. Considering the technology advancement and limitations of renewable energy, particularly wind and solar energy, it is essential to develop appropriate policy and incentive scheme along with the right technology solution, so that the solutions are both affordable and sustainable.

Developing this kind of hybrid DC/AC networked smart microgrid or mini-grid interconnected with each other and with district or national grid infrastructure is undoubtedly the best solution for Nigeria and Africa, i.e. enable large scale renewable energy generation at lowest possible system cost with highest maximum efficiency. It means, solar and renewable energy is both affordable and easy to access. For the people who need it most.

How optimistic are you about business opportunities in Nigeria’s energy future?
We are extremely confident that Entrust Smart Microgrid will be the best energy/power system solution for all built environment in Nigeria and broad areas in Africa. By developing partnerships with local governmental agencies, businesses and research organisations, we believe we will have huge success in Nigeria and Africa and contribute to address the energy security/poverty, affordability and sustainability in Nigeria and broader areas in Africa. Entrust Microgrid is affordable, effective and simple – with many applications to bring clean power to the people.

Read more at ESI Africa