Thursday, October 21, 2021
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The International Energy Health and Safety Event (IEHSE) had its virtual Summit recently on general safety issues. The Summit was also to commemorate Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary.

Health Safety and Environment (HSE) cannot be overemphasised in industry, schools, communities among others because any neglect or compromise may have adverse effect.

Coordinator of the Summit, Dr. Oladunni Owo, Chief Executive Officer of Blackgold Authorities and Advisory Consultant, made it known that investment can go down the drain overnight if HSE is undermined and this has always been the undoing of institutions across the country jettisoning safety precautions.

Responding to a documentary video by BBC ‘Africa Eye’ where there was severe explosion in Lagos, Dr. Owo was of the view that if precautionary measures were in place the incident wouldn’t have gone awry leading to death and loss of valuables.      

For investments worth millions of dollars to be protected, HSE should not be compromised and it goes with quality. She advised that companies and individuals must haveHSSEQSR in place as a bulwark to guide against unforeseen circumstances. HSSEQSR goes with security and social responsibility to enlighten communities and the public.

If the people were better enlightened, causalities could have been minimal hence sensitization is significant in HSE to avoid wastages and huge loss arising from neglect.

She enjoined the oil and gas industry not to limit HSE to safety of facilities only but also put the communities in mind. There is need for all stakeholders to collaborate for a safer environment.  

Speaking at the first session of the IEHSE Summit, Professor Abubakar Sanni Sambo, Vice Chairman of the World Energy Council (WEC), Africa Region, and the incumbent General and Chief Executive of Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) gave an insight of safe energy.

Professor Sambo is an energy practitioner and planner for the past forty years, emphasising the need for safe energy through Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 7 which calls for universal access to clean energy either for cooking or other related uses. The country should adopt safer energy for all.

The major energy system in Nigeria at present is fossil fuel. “The country should go ahead to use fossil fuel since it is endowed with significant quantities of it.”

The energy expert said, in the north eastern part of Nigeria, in the Lake Chad Basin there is oil and gas deposits. In fact, Niger Republic, Chad and Cameroon have discovered and lifting oil and gas from those regions. The upper Benue Trough in Bauchi and Gombe recently, oil has been discovered. Again, moving west ward, in Bida, Niger State there is strong possibilities of oil find.

Professor Sambo added, in the northwest, Sokoto, boarder of Nigeria, there is possibility of oil and gas, the country has to live with fossil fuels while its energy demand expands in the future, it should increase energy with less pollution such as: solar, wind, bio mass and bio fuel.

However, concerning the aspect of innovation in the world and the use of alternative energy, Professor Sambo revealed that some countries have banned fuel vehicles importation and assembly plants in their countries. They are moving towards electric vehicles because today the “biggest polluter of carbon dioxide emission is the transport sector.” The power sector is about 40% while the transport sector is more with natural causes.

Priority is given to electric vehicles and changing of the entire transport hub. Trains, busses, airplanes are all being changed from fuel to electric using deep circle batteries the same in the utilization of renewable energy for electrification.

The ECN Executive Officer pointed out that the power supply in Nigeria is 4000 Megawatts (MW) for 200 million people. The electricity consumption on annual basis by each Nigerian is about 175 kilowatts per hour. The world average is about 2600 kilowatts while sub-Saharan Africa average is about 500 kilowatts per hour.

In his words, “If Nigeria today, is moved to the sub-Saharan Africa average, it should have about 11900 MW capacity of production of electricity and if the country is to move further to the world average 2600 kilowatts per hour for each person as it applies to Nigeria, this will require 59,000 MW.

This gloomy picture about power in the country shows that electricity supply is still at its lowest ebb. 

Professor Sambo stated that the Siemens roadmap for power which the government recently signed with the company will lead to electricity supply of 25000 MW by 2025 and this will not take the country to the average of electricity consumption, in 2025, the whole average will move to about 3000. “Nigeria really needs to concentrate seriously in its electricity sector.” Without regular and reliable electricity supply, the country cannot develop.

Solutions for Nigeria’s Power

Notwithstanding, cleaner and safe energy will be required to move to 25000 MW in 2025, the Siemens arrangement will give Nigeria and subsequently moving higher to meet the world’s average. This is what WEC calls 3Ds, decarbonization, decentralization and digitalization. Due to the pandemic, the fourth D has been added known as disruption of energy system.

The idea of WEC is decarbonization to move towards renewable energy. The grid cannot distribute power that will be available for electricity consumers. It cannot take less than 4000 MW; Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) capacity is about 6000 to 7000 which is not enough for 200 million people.

The Energy Practitioner said, the way forward is to significantly go for off-grid, mini-grid and embedded power plants with systems that can be put in place to provide substantial quantity of electricity.

He commended the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) that has been championing two set of interventions, one for education which is known as energizing education in Nigeria, this is coming with power plants that have less pollution.

Professor Sambo added that Nigeria is fortunate with substantial gas than oil, “it should go with gas power plants, renewables for off-grid, mini-grid and embedded plants. Embedded plants work for municipalities like Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Ibadan. They need to interline with existing networks around the cities with huge generating sets that will provide electricity.” These are significant 2Ds decarbonization with renewables, decentralization not waiting for grid, then digitalization is to harmonise and coordinate different types of electricity especially the intermittent ones.

If ICT facilities are used, it can meaningfully integrate renewables into power and supply. The WEC last D which was introduced in the power chain, is disruption in electricity supply and it can be meaningfully used during pandemic period. For instance, if some power plants are not operating because workers cannot go to work there will be variety of options while some are redundant others are operating depending on arrangement.

Good interconnection with neighbouring countries that have regional power pool with functional storage system in case of disruptions like the pandemic will take care of issues.

The ECN helmsman said power energy planning should be comprehensive, involving not only engineers and scientists but array of economists and investors as part of the plan.  

Energy planning group should use what is being promoted by WEC which is integrated resource planning and considering whole viable options that are cost effective. “If we do this, Nigeria will begin to be on the part of significant growth and development providing electricity that will be safe and reliable for the country.”

Since the IEHSE Summit was on safety, guests and speakers at the event made projections on how the culture of keeping safe can be imbibed among different stakeholders. Responding to videos shown on loss of lives and property due to HSE omission, they said all stakeholders should ensure that safety and precautionary measures are intact without being vitiated. 


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