Nigeria is the six-largest oil-producing nation in the world, but it also has abundant renewable energy resources in the form of wind, hydro, and tidal power. Nevertheless, the country has serious energy deficiencies which are likely to increase as the population grows.
Although data from the Energy Information Administration shows that Nigeria has improved its energy generation in recent years, the country still lags behind peer economies such as Brazil, India, and South Africa in meeting current energy needs, much less building for future growth.
“Nigeria is a country waiting to happen,” says Udemgba Samuel Onuoha, business hub manager at Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, the main electricity provider in Ibadan, Nigeria’s third-largest city. “Only by meeting the energy needs of the people can the economic and developmental needs of the country be fulfilled.
Nigeria currently has the capability within existing power plants to generate 12,522 MW of electricity daily but most days is only able to generate around 4,000 MW due to a variety of factors, including an inefficient transmission network, weak government policy, and inadequate energy reforms.
In Onuoha’s opinion, it is critical that Nigeria taps into its high potential for renewable energy generation to satisfy the country’s needs.
“In Nigeria, petroleum accounts for 80% of the energy supply, with one of the lowest per-capita energy consumption rates in the world and a fast-growing population,” Onuoha says.
Wale Yusuff, Managing Director of Wärtsilä Nigeria, shares this perspective with Onuoha.
“Nigeria will only achieve its target of generating 11,000 MW daily by 2023 if the government invests in renewable energy,” Yusuff says.
According to Yusuff, a 30% share of renewable energy, as well as a sizable share of thermal base power as envisioned in the Nigeria Electrification Roadmap, is a robust and appropriate mix for the country at this point.
He emphasises that Nigeria has abundant natural gas resources that have yet to be fully tapped and suggests the development of a large fleet of medium-size gas-to-power plants as a way forward.
Ultimately, Yusuff says, “the solution is to use utility-scale solar power plants integrated with engine power plants and energy storage.”