Group puts Nigeria’s electricity deficit at 93%
• Power supply stagnates at over 4,000MW since August
The Africa Progress Panel has disclosed that about 93 per cent of Nigeria’s population have no access to electricity.
The group therefore called on African governments to set out timetable and strategies for achieving universal energy access.
Nigeria’s electricity generation has been stagnant since August this year, when it managed to hit 4,810.70MW after several years of hovering around 1,000 to 2,000MW.
For instance, as at 25 October, the country’s electricity supply was 3,960.82MW while daily average energy generated stands at 4,029.39MW.
Despite the fact that the Nigeria needs about 30,000MW to run the economy, the country only has capacity to generate 5,873MW, according to the latest report from the Presidential Taskforce on Power.
The group believed that Africa’s leaders have no choice about tackling the region’s chronic deficits in power generation and energy access.
Delivering a speech last week, at the United Kingdom Department for Development (DFID) ‘Energy Africa’ campaign launch, the Chairman of the panel, Kofi Annan, revealed that over 300 million will still lack access on current trends by 2040 – ten years after the target date under the new development goals for universal energy access.
Annan said that Africa does not have to follow the carbon-intensive pathway and energy practices of rich countries and emerging economies that have brought the world to the brink of catastrophe.
He hinted that a woman in a rural village in northern Nigeria spends 60 to 80 times more per unit of energy than a resident of London or New York. “This is not just an injustice. It is a market failure of epic proportion. Households are losing out as a result of higher prices, investors are losing out on market opportunities, and countries are losing out from a failure to harness productive technologies. Furthermore, almost four in five people rely for cooking on solid biomass, mainly fuelwood and charcoal. As a result, 600,000 people in the region die each year from household air pollution”.
He said that Africa is rich in untapped energy potential – including renewable resources. “These resources – sun, wind, hydro and geothermal – have two distinctive advantages: speed and scope for decentralization. They can be deployed far more rapidly than coal-fired power plants, and they can operate both on-grid and off-grid. The belief that Africa has to choose between economic growth and low carbon development is based on anachronistic thinking. In South Africa and many other countries around the world, renewable energy is increasingly cost-competitive at scale, even before taking into account environmental costs. Low carbon development has the potential to act as an engine of growth. Yet we have to be honest and recognize that current international efforts fall distressingly short of what is needed”.
He noted that too often, governments and investors are held back in their ambition by the slow pace of negotiations involving multiple aid donors, development finance institutions and multilateral agencies.
Annan believed that an enabling environment must now be created to allow this growing pool of energy investors to deliver clean energy “off grid” in a way that is simple for both investors and consumers to understand.
“This generation of African leaders has a unique opportunity to deliver on the promise of energy for all.
“For too long, governments have been content to oversee highly centralized energy systems designed to benefit the rich and bypass the poor. Power utilities have been centres of corruption, inefficiency and vested interest”, he added.
The group urged Africa government to use the region’s natural gas to provide domestic energy as well as exports, while harnessing Africa’s vast untapped renewable energy potential.
They also want the leaders to cut corruption, make utility governance more transparent, strengthen regulations, and increase public spending on energy infrastructure.
“Redirect the $21 billion spent on subsidies for loss-making utilities and electricity consumption – which benefit mainly the rich – towards connection subsidies and renewable energy investments that deliver energy to the poor”, it added.
The group also calls for strengthened international cooperation to close Africa’s energy sector financing gap, estimated to be $55 billion annually to 2030, which includes $35 billion for investments in plant, transmission and distribution, and $20 billion for the costs of universal access.
“A global connectivity fund with a target of reaching an additional 600 million Africans by 2030 is needed to drive investment in on- and off-grid energy provision. Aid donors and financial institutions should do more to unlock private investment through risk guarantees and mitigation finance,” it stated.