Access to electricity in Nigeria is the lowest in the world and energy cost is significant in the country with about 180 million population. Due to failure of its electricity supply system the essence of a stable secured power is hindering development in Nigeria. There is no serious transition to renewable energy in the country while it has penchant for incentives. The country’s energy mix policy only encourages the process without thorough plan and enhanced framework. If the country wants to improve business and investment, it should seek other alternative of power supply which is renewable. Investors will not be involved or interested in the power sector if they cannot recoup their investment. People are not aware of alternative power with regards to renewables, the interest is poor and the capacity is not on ground in Nigeria. The government should sensitize the people. Being a developing country, risk is high in the country. Who is going to provide and pay for power? Investors will want to know who buys power before plants can be set up. There must be offtake agreement with capacity to pay for power. A power generator or producer will think of how to mitigate his risk when buyers cannot pay for electricity.
At the Centre for Petroleum Information (CPI) Oil and Gas Forum, Soji Awogbade, Partners, Aelex Legal Practitioners and Arbitrators, noted that any source of energy which is scalable and easily accessible for investment by private persons and companies is going to be a quicker solution than the large solutions of huge power systems of energy generation. What Nigeria needs is to ensure that all the advantages that it currently have at its disposal should be harnessed and organized in a way that will produce the energy the country demands. Awogbade posited that presently, access to electricity in Nigeria is the lowest in the world currently.
The legal practitioner noted that “government must in reliazation of that deficiency react as quickly as it can to correct that anomaly. Power is the biggest engine in the developing process in any society, without light, without power, machines will not be able to run”. Development will not be as rapidly as those who have access to power. “For you not to quantify the cost of energy or the lack of it to the growth of a country is to ignore development processes entirely.” Awogbade made a stunning remark that a factory in Nigeria is close to five times as much as its counterpart in most other countries based on one unit of power. “If anything is established in Nigeria, you are five times less profitable of the power unit than your colleagues anywhere else.” According to him “if competition is what it is, you cannot be competitive if you are producing at such a prohibitive cost of one unit of power. The irony of it is that when you realize that for most establishment in Nigeria, power is rapidly becoming the single most expensive. It is not raw materials or taxes but power.” Nigeria is using the most expensive fuel to power its engines and self-generation is even more expensive irrespective of the fuel that is being used. Awogbade decried a situation where “it is quite unfortunate that Nigerians have become local governments and Water Corporation of their own. The poor populace do not have buying capacity even if electricity is produced and available for them. This is why the country is not growing with any meaningful development.
Awogbade restated the importance of renewables to the power networks of any country, “if the west which is already well-powered is racing to catch up via renewables, it will be a shame if countries like Nigeria which is lagging behind with most abundant sources of renewables is dragging its feet”. What should be done is to look at the economy and entrench renewables as a policy which will drive the energy mix to the highest level in the future.
In spite of the abundance technology in storage for renewables, there are still significance engineering limitations in use and consumption of renewable energy. Awogbade stated that there are still sources of power that the country must start using because of their huge advantages. Rural communities will benefit from renewable based power generation. The source of energy includes sun, wind, hydro dams and other energy mix which are enhanced by water and Nigeria has abundant of rivers to its advantage.
On his part, Victor Eromosele advocated that renewable energy is not expensive, he disclosed that he has built solar powered system which is being used at home. The CPI Secretary asserted “I enjoyed 24/7 electricity where I live”. He supports “low carbon world or low carbon economy” which is the trendiest topical issue around the globe. If the country continues to consume fossil fuel without engaging in the current transition making the rounds in the world, it will be lagging behind. Therefore, renewable energy is the solution for the country. It contributes the largest proportion than any other source including gas to power. Why can’t Nigeria be part of that solution? The idea of suggesting that the country should go back to coal for power because other developed countries resorted to it, is not a better one. Eromosele added that the price of solar panel is cheap compared to what it was, it is competitive. Solar panel can last for a long time and saves money that could be used for self-power generation. In thirty months, money used to generate solar power can be recovered since there will be less fuel to be consumed, “if you think solar is expensive, try darkness.” The country should march its words with action otherwise it will find it difficult to get to the ‘promise’ land.