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Nigeria, Energy Poverty and Renewable Energy

Nigeria’s decision to attain 15 percent renewable energy use by 2015 has been tagged to be a very proactive commitment. An important fact to note is that more than 60 percent of the nation’s population is not connected to the national grid and the remaining population can only boast an epileptic power supply.

Apart from the ill state of its existing generation, distribution and supply network in Africa’s most populous country and second largest economy, decades of ineffective institutional framework and appropriate policies have been responsible for the increasing levels of energy poverty. So many questions remain unanswered as it becomes clearer day by day that Nigeria is under-performing in terms of the provision of power security to its 160 million people. To further unlock the nation’s economical and industrial potentials and attract more foreign investments, new scientific breakthroughs in efficiency and delivery of alternative energy technologies have to be taken advantage of.

The country’s present over-dependence on gas fired generation plants has resulted in supply disruptions in times of gas shortages which are very common occurrences. The need for alternative power generation options cannot be overstated considering the country’s current demand for power. In 2011, Nigeria emerged as the country with the largest gap between demand and supply of electricity in the world according to a progress report submitted by the country’s presidential task force committee on power reforms. This is definitely inadequate to stimulate economic growth.

Nigeria’s abundant renewable energy resources led by solar energy, biomass and wind energy have been largely neglected and it’s high time these were actively employed to provide the necessary power generation levels. Nigeria’s power demand is reported to grow at rate of 8.2 percent annually. Any additional generation sources with economical justifications should be highly considered.

Nigeria is faced with an enormous task; the need for greater electricity supply with improved grid reliability and security. Energy poverty is never synonymous with any form of national development. Nigeria definitely has plenty of work to be done in this regard as it takes more than making upbeat pronouncements to be among the top 20 nations in the world by the year 2020.

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