With multi-national oil companies looking more to the international market, and leaving the domestic gas market gasping, Nigeria’s power sector doesn’t seem to be getting off the woods just yet.
Nigeria’s electricity power sector is largely dependent on gas. Low gas availability, occasioned largely by poor pricing, transportation infrastructure and a market that is skewed largely in favour of exports, has continued to plague Nigeria’s power sector over the years. This has, in turn, made a huge mockery of efforts to provide efficient and reliable electricity to the country’s large population.
Government spoke recently of a renewable energy plan. While there is limited information on actual implementation strategies, stakeholders are pointing to a new untapped possibility for solving Nigeria’s age-long energy crisis.
To improve electricity access, guarantee rural economic development and generally demystify supply, experts are pushing for Nigeria to pay attention to decentralised renewable energy (DRE).
At the forefront of this campaign is the Power for All Initiative, championed by international energy policy expert, Ify Malo and the newly formed Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN).
A renewable energy specialist, Dotun Tokun, described the concept as a world of untapped potentials. Tokun, who is the promoter of Solarmate Engineering Ltd., said: “DRE for rural Agribusiness, with proper financing plan is a win-win situation. Land for the panels would not be a problem. It will increase productivity of the plants, prevent/reduce rural to urban migration and provides gainful employment. Not forgetting the positive impact of renewables on the environment.”
On how renewable energy could become the game changer in Nigeria’s energy revolution, the Campaign Director for Power For All in Nigeria and Co-founder of the Clean Tech Hub, Ifeoma Malo, explained: “Nigeria’s current grid capacity is able to generate about 12,000 megawatts and yet, only 5,000 megawatts is actually available to meet the needs of the country’s teeming population. This means that about 60 percent of Nigerians lack access to the grid. This gap between demand for electricity and available supply means that many Nigerian businesses and home owners are into widespread self-generation of power for their commercial, industrial and residential uses.