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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Why We Switched Over to Solar-powered Streetlights — Anambra Power Commissioner, Chukwuemeka


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

Anambra State Commissioner for Power and Water Resources, Engr. Julius Chukwuemeka, has said that the decision of the Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo-led Anambra State Government, to convert the diesel-powered streetlights in the State to solar-powered streetlights was quite thoughtful.

The Commissioner disclosed this in an interview with this reporter, Izunna Okafor, during which he said the step not only illuminates the roads but also paves the way for a sustainable, greener and more energy-efficient future.

According to the Commissioner, maintenance cost, environmental concerns, human health, and efficiency of operation take the centre stage in the Governor’s visionary decision to embark on the switchover. He noted that the step showcases the state’s dedication to reducing its carbon footprint and adopting forward-looking practices; adding that the transition not only curbs environmental pollution, but also sets a precedent for regions striving to balance development with sustainability.

He said: “This transformation adds a touch of modernity to the state, making it a beacon of progress in a world striving for cleaner energy solutions.

“However, this initiative isn’t just about aesthetics and environmentalism; it’s also about harnessing technological advancements for the greater good. Solar power technology has come a long way, with increased efficiency and reduced costs. The solar-powered streetlights not only harness energy from the sun but also store excess power for uninterrupted illumination during cloudy days.

“Critics may argue about the initial costs of such a transition, but the long-term benefits speak volumes. The savings generated from reduced energy consumption and maintenance of traditional streetlights will obviously outweigh the upfront investment in a few short years. Moreover, this forward-looking approach displays Governor Soludo’s commitment to using state resources wisely and efficiently.”

Commissioner Chukwuemeka also dismissed as irrelevant, the speculations by some residents of the State who claim that the lifespan of the solar streetlights does not exceed two years, after which they will be dismantled and replaced with new ones. He described the purveyors of such argument as either those benefiting from the corruption and wastefulness associated with the diesel-powered streetlights in the state or those who are still wallowing in primitivity; stressing that such arguments and speculations are only but lies that hold no water.

He said, “The entire world has been talking about how we can make our energy generation to be renewable and eco-friendly in a way that it will emit, possibly, limited pollution to the environment, because if you look around at what is happening now, you will see so many effects of global warming hitting the earth.

“For instance, the flooding we are talking now is as a result of global warming, because one of the effects of global warming is that the ice in the sea banks will melt; and, when this happens you will see that the sea banks will increase. And, that increment is what causes the flooding that we are witnessing here.”

While reiterating Governor Soludo’s vision for a green and liveable Anambra, the Commissioner said: “In Anambra State Ministry of Power and Water Resources, one of our emphases is to ensure that we generate energy that will be cleaner, sustainable and environmental friendly. And this conversion of our streetlights to solar is a step towards achieving that.”

Speaking further, the Commissioner said, “Anambra State’s decision to convert its streetlights to solar power isn’t just about switching energy sources; it’s a statement of intent, a declaration that progress and sustainability can go hand in hand.

“Governor Soludo’s foresight backed up with action underscores the importance of embracing change for a better tomorrow. This transformation illuminates not only the physical streets but also the path to a future where innovation, environmental consciousness, and visionary leadership converge.”

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