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‘How to reduce energy deficit, boost industrialisation’

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Industrialisation. Photo: PIXABAY

To address the energy deficit in the country and support industrialisation agenda, stakeholders, including the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), have argued for the exploitation of other energy sources like solar, wind, biomass and hydropower.

According to them, Nigeria has enormous solar energy potential, with distributed radiation averaging 19.8MJm2 per day and average sunshine of six hours per day. If this potential can be effectively harnessed, Northern Nigeria alone could provide 42,700MW from solar thermal.

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Nigeria has a total installed electricity generation capacity of 12,522MW mainly sourced through hydropower and gas turbine stations. However, distribution is just about 4000 MW through the grid to the last mile-consumers due to inadequate transmission wheeling capacity and significant losses in the electricity value chain.

According to the World Bank, Nigeria has the largest energy access deficit in the world. This is because 85 million Nigerians – representing about 43% of the population – do not have access to grid electricity.

Speaking at the virtual Lagos Solar Energy Conference and Expo 2021 themed “Exploring opportunities in the renewable energy sector for sustainable development” and organised by the LCCI, the Chamber’s President, Mrs Toki Mabogunje, noted that inadequate electricity supply has been a major impediment to the economic development plans of successive governments in Nigeria and a significant constraint to businesses and citizens.

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Citing a World Bank report, she said lack of reliable power in the country has resulted in yearly economic losses estimated at $26.2 billion (₦10.1 trillion), which is equivalent to about two percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

According to her, adequate access to reliable and affordable power is a catalyst for industrialisation and productivity enhancement to make the economy globally competitive.

“Significant improvement in access and reliability of electricity through renewable energy sources in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs 7) is imperative for reducing widespread poverty in Nigeria and unlocking economic growth -post-covid-19 pandemic”, she added.

Chairman of the LCCI Power Group, Otunba Akinbo Akin-Olugbade noted that the goal of reducing Nigeria’s age-long dependence on natural gas and its attendant environmental issues will see more traction in the coming years with the adoption of other energy sources.

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Citing an RMI mini-grid investment report, Akin-Olugbade said: “The Nigerian mini-grid market today has reached an inflexion point – costs are competitive with alternatives like diesel and petrol generators, and projects are moving away from grant funding to commercial investment”.

He added that mini-grid costs are expected to decrease over the next few years, unlocking market scale to tens of thousands of sites within the country, noting that with emerging best practices, the market for mini-grids is definitely stronger.

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On his part, the President, Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria, Dr Segun Adaju, stated that energy supply is currently Lagos State’s single biggest infrastructure and developmental challenge, as the state receives only 1GW daily for an average of 12 hours, against the required 9GW.

With Nigeria accounting for 75 per cent of backup power generation from diesel generators in Africa, Adaju said the country can generate 207,000 GWh yearly with Polycrystalline Solar PV (Yield of 1,500Wh/Wp per year) from just 1% of its >920,000km2 land area.

As energy gaps remain, he added that the country can displace one million generators by 2030 and replace it with rooftop solar if it embraces the reforms.

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