‘Gas revolution key to Nigeria’s electricity need’

gas plantADEQUATE utilization of gas based technologies for power generation can leap frog Nigeria into an electricity stable country, Managing Director of Mantrac Nigeria Limited, Edmund Martin-Lawson, has said.

He said in the meantime, government’s Independent Power Project (IPP) programme remains a viable option, which will largely enable states and even local councils and corporate organisations generate their own power and cut operating cost.

Martin-Lawson said the use of gas-based technologies for power generation could ensure about 70 per cent reduction in cost.

Speaking at a conference on ‘Gas to Power Solutions and Options’, in Lagos, Martin-Lawson said the power challenge in Nigeria is inseparable from its economy which, in the past few years, has been growing between six and seven per cent before dropping to 3.5 per cent this year because of the fall in oil price.

He said with electricity, the Nigerian economy could grow to double digit, much faster than it is growing today.

Acknowledging that transmission of generated power to consumers and ensuring they pay a fair price remain challenges for government, Martin-Lawson was certain that the Independent Power Project (IPP) programme is certainly the best way forward in the short term to resolve the power problem and make electricity available to the generality of Nigerians.

“IPP solves the problem of transmission by bringing the power to the communities where they are needed, but the distribution problem remains, because the transformers for the distribution may not be readily available in the area and how many of them are working? They need to be changed and who is going to pay for them?”

He noted however that IPP alone is not the solution to the power problem.

“The whole IPP package: generation, transmission and distribution has to be a public private partnership. Government alone cannot do it.

“Energy consumption is rising rapidly, driven by worldwide population growth, developing economies, improving global living standards and the use of ever more energy-dependent technologies.

At companies like Caterpillar for instance, there is support for the development and utilisation of all energy resources – both traditional and alternative.”

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