Nigeria @60: Renewable Energy to Generate 18 GW for the National Grid
By Bello Rufai Wali
AREWA AGENDA – For the past 60 years, Nigeria has been facing lack of improved social and economic development due to the inadequacy of sustainable and stable power supply for both domestic and commercial uses. Sustainable Development Goal 7 of United Nation’s 2030 Global Agenda is the most appropriate approach to solve Nigeria’s 60th anniversary of power outage.
The country’s generating power capacity was about 1,250 MW as at year 2000 while the current average daily power generation fluctuates from 4,500 MW to 5,000 MW with an available capacity of 7,000 MW according to the Minister of Power in 2017, thus, throughout the era of democratic rule in Nigeria from 1999 to 2020; there has been an increase of only, about 3,250 MW in 20 years.
Nigeria has the worst electricity consumption per capita, a fall back behind its most of its West-African counterparts. Various researchers have examined the electricity insufficiency in Nigeria; their estimates have shown that about 15 million family houses in Nigeria do not have any means to national electricity, and those that have access to the grid usually suffer from inconsistent power supply.This largely explains the poor rating of Nigeria as one of the countries with low developing index.
The most significant renewable sources in the country are hydro, wind, biomass and solar which all have high potentials for power generation in Nigeria. The 7th Sustainable Development Goal which is Affordable and Clean Energy simply means that the nation needs to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, through harnessing available renewable energies in the federation. Ensuring Nigerians have access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy will help in eradicating poverty, boost Agricultural productivity especially via modern irrigation, improve clean water supply, encourage innovation and reinforce local, regional and national industrial and employment objectives, and finally, providing access to modern energy services to all will not exacerbate climate change.
Hydropower is one of the largest renewable energy sources across the world, and provides close to one-fifth of the global electrical power and above four-fifths of the electricity generated from renewable worldwide. Considering the current level of diversification of power supply in Nigeria, hydropower holds the largest share (20 per cent) of renewable energy sources. The operation of the thermal-hydro plants with fossil fuels for power generation is one of the reasons that hydropower is not receiving sufficient attention in Nigeria. Till date, Shiroro dam, Jebba dam and Kainji dam are three major dams notable for huge power generation in the country with each capacity ranging from 500 MW to 800 MW.
However, it was noted that, apart from these three dams mentioned, Nigeria has many other dams in different sizes and scales which could be designed, constructed and developed for hydropower purposes, given its huge availability of water resources. According to an assessment published in 2017 on renewable energy sources for sustainable power generation in Nigeria, Nigeria has the potential to generate above 18 GW from its hydro resources; however, the country is yet to harnesses an appreciable percentage for the generation of electricity.
Most reports shows that the hydropower potential in Nigeria has not been well utilized and adequately harnessed and developed for affordable and clean power generation in Nigeria.
Arewa Agenda is a Publication of young writers from Northern Nigeria towards Peaceful Coexistence and National Development through positive narratives