ENERGY EFFICIENCY: A STRATEGY TOWARDS ENERGY USE IN NIGERIA
Engr. AdesolaOluwagbenga OLADEJI
B. Tech., M.ENG., MNIMechE, MNSE, MNIM, Regd. Engr. (COREN)
Energy efficiency improvement is one of the key strategies to achieving greater sustainability of electricity in the energy sector. This can be accomplished with ambitious adoption of existing and new energy-efficient technologies, thereby promoting economic and infrastructural growth in Nigeria.
Policies to promote energy efficiency are very important to overcome existing market barriers such as high initial investment costs, incentives, lack of information and ingrained habits of energy consumers and producers/consumersof manufactured goods.
This paper examines the progress in the field of energy efficiency in the past years as well as the potential for further energy efficiency improvements for the coming years with the aim of sustaining our energy needs.
It also addresses what is required to enhance and speed up the rate of energy efficiency improvements to reach its potential levels and benefit the economic growth in Nigeria.
Keywords: Efficiency Improvement, Production Sector, Infrastructure, Energy-Efficient Technologies and Economic Growth.
Energy is the mainstay of a Nation’s economic growth and development, withelectricity being an important energy component whose consumption grows most rapidly throughout the world. It serves as an input into the production of goods and services in the various sectors of national activities such as the industry, transport, agriculture, health and education. It alsoserves as an instrument for politics, security and diplomacy.
Worldwide, electricity consumption grew at a rate of about 3.6 percent per year in the last five years, which is much stronger than the growth in total energy use . So it is interesting to have a closer look at the efficiency opportunities in our energy use, to enhance our economic development.
At present, efficiencies vary widely by country, from about 30 percent for the least efficient countries up to 50 percent for the most efficient. These mean that 50 to 70 percent of all primary energy is lost during the generation process. This in turn leaves room for further efficiency improvement .
In the power sector, a wide range of options is available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including switching to fuels with lower carbon content, conversion to nuclear or renewables and energy efficiency improvement .
Worldwide, 35 percent of total primary energy supply is used to produce electricity . Fossil fuels, especially coal and/or natural gas, are still dominant in most countries with a significant part of the electric power lost during transmission and distribution. These losses can be divided in technical and commercial losses. Technical losses are caused by resistance in power lines and conversion losses in transformers. It varies between 5 and 15 percent of the electricity production . Commercial losses are caused by theft/illegal tapping, administrative errors, incorrect metering or unpaid bills.To achieve energy efficiency in Nigeria, the flaring of natural gas by the multinational oil companies should cease and efforts to stop gas flaring on the part of the government should be encouraged. New technologies, such as Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSGs) should be adopted in Power generation to ensure optimum output from input resources for our infrastructural use.
Nigeria flares about 75% of her natural gas because of lack of processing facilities and this account for 20% of flared gas worldwide. The flare-out deadline set by the Nigerian government by 2008 was unrealistic because government could not meet up with the financial obligation towards the process hence impairing the economic growth of the country.
Energy and Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency means improvement in practices and products that reduce the energy necessary to provide services like lighting, cooling, heating, manufacturing, cooking, transport, entertainment etc .
Energy efficiency products essentially help to do more work with less energy. Thus, the efficiency of an appliance or technology is determined by the amount of energy needed to provide the energy service. There is a way to increase our activities and yet decrease our energy use – this is called energy efficiency.
For instance, to light a room with an incandescent light bulb of 60 W for one hour requires 60 W/h (that is 60 watts per hour). A compact fluorescent light bulb would provide the same or better lighting at 11 W and only use 11 W/h. This means that 49 W (82% of energy) is saved for each hour the light is turned on.
In Nigeria today, a lot of energy is wasted because industries, power companies, offices andhouseholds use more energy than is actually necessary to fulfill their needs. The reason is because they use old and inefficient equipment and production processes; buildings are poorly designed; and because of bad practices or habits. With energy efficiency practices and products, the country can save over 50 % of the present energy consumed in the country .
As infrastructure in Nigeria grows, ourenergy demand will increase. This has been the prevailing trend for many years, but in the future, we may not necessarily be subject to thislaw. With this ongoing growth in human activities in mind, we may ask the question: Will it ever be possible to stabilize our energy use? This is where energy efficiency becomes relevant.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN BUILDINGS AND APPLIANCES
Energy makes buildings comfortable through lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation. Included in the total energy use of households are traditional fuels that are predominantly used for cooking in large parts of Africa and South Asia. These fuels represent 17 percent of the total energy use of households worldwide .
Buildings and appliances are responsible for over one third of the global primary energy use. In other words, all buildings in the world use the same amount of primary energy . Many successful policies already exist, but for insulation of existing buildings, stronger incentives are required. For most developing countries, Nigeria inclusive, these measures are interesting as well, since they can be very cost-efficient.
The electricity use grew much faster and there is a wide variation of individual energy use in households. Some countries show a declining trend, but for most of the countries, the energy use per capita is still increasing .
Market and Technology Developments
As we strive to develop our economy through the energy sector of the country, the energy use of the sector is of paramount important.
The development of new technology is indispensible for further efficiency improvement in the long run. Governments usually stimulate this kind of energy efficiency innovation by financially supporting Research and Development (R&D). Energy efficiency R&D support has increased since 1990, but in recent years there has been a declining tendency. Note, however, that R&D statistics are not always complete . A number of energy efficiency technologies are rapidly entering the market and interesting new technology is the LED-lamp. LED technology promises even higher efficiencies than compact fluorescent lamps. The most advanced LED lights produce more than 100 lumen per Watt, while 70 lumen per Watt is already commercially available. In comparison, the best compact fluorescent lamps are now producing 60 lumen per Watt and a traditional incandescent light bulb only 15 lumen per Watt. However, the number of LED models available is still limited.
Energy efficiency improvement is not the only way to limit the energy use of total human activity. Two others are:
· Structural change – shifts to less energy-intensive activities (e.g. more growth in the service sector than in heavy industry) will dampen the growth of energy use in relation to GDP.
· Modal changes –changes in the way certain activities are carried out will have the same effect, these include for example: changing from passenger cars to public.
Methods of Energy Efficiency Improvement
End-use efficiency refers to technologies, appliancesor practices that improve energy efficiency at the level of the final user. It includes electricity-using and thermal technologies such as motors, lighting, heating, air conditioning . It also includes technologies that help to conserve or better use energy such as insulation.
End-use efficiency measures from improving the ability of houses to absorb and retain heat in winter and keep out heat in the summer to changing individual and business behavior to include maintenance and repair of industrial production equipment.
This refers to practices or policies usually implemented by utilities and energy planners that encourage users to use energy more efficiently or to move their energy use away from peak demands. The later is known as load shifting. Load shifting allows for more effective use of generating capacity and can significantly defer the need for building new generating stations.
Standard and Label (S&L)
Standards and labels (S&L) are now commonly used in many countries of the world especially the industrialized countries to promote the efficient use of energy. Energy labels are attached to electrical appliances to show the accurate energy consumption information on the products. This information will help the consumers to take decision on the products, that is whether to buy the product or not. Energy label provides information on the amount of energy an appliance consumes thus will help consumers to know the level of the efficiency of the equipment.
Good energy management can contribute to energy efficiency and it includes:
Ø Ensuring that spare heat are not vented away but put into use
Ø Lighting is activated when required
Ø Carrying out energy audits i.e. measuring and analyzing the amount of energy used by abuilding or company to ensure that all aspects of energy management are optimized.
In Nigeria and in some parts of the world, energy is generated from a central location and distributed through long distances to other parts of the country. Energy is lost when transmitted through long distances. Energy losses due to grid transmission over long distances could be minimized if energy generation is dispersed. That is energy is generated locally and fed directly into distribution systems for infrastructural use.
The Infrastructural sector is adversely affected due to our inability to embrace energy conservation practice. This practice entails reducing the need for energy particularly electricity to achieve greater overall efficiency. For example, the use of solar water heater, which helps to capture thermal energy of the sun in panels and connected to a well, insulated storage tanks. Withthe solar heater, the use of electricity to heat water will be minimized. Another exampleof energy conservation practices is the locating work places closer to public transport orcloser to living areas.
Energy Efficiency in Transportation
An efficient and well organized public transport would help to conserve the use of energyin the transport sector. It will cut down the number of cars on the road thereby reducing congestion and travel time. If buses were on time, regular and comfortable, more people would use them.
Passive Designs in Energy Efficiency Houses
Passive designs in buildings means making use of nature to reduce energy consumption and other costs. This involves the correct orientation of buildings and roof design in other to use natural light during the day. It also involves the use of overhangs to keep out light during period of high sunlight intensity.
Energy efficiency designs have other possibilities such that the designs will enhance natural air flow, use of materials that will minimize heat flow etc.
Retro-fitting Homes and Public Buildings
The practice of retrofitting homes and public buildings is now practiced in many parts of the world to reduce energy consumption. Owning to the fact that many homes and public building have been built long time ago and are equipped with all kinds of inefficient appliances, it is now a common thing for owners of home and government to replace this old equipment with newer and more efficient ones.
Tariffs and Incentives
Tariff structures can be used to encourage people to use less electricity and defer the use of appliances to periods when it is in least demand. Varying the rate of charge according to time of day encourage load-shifting for example the use of timers to activate appliances prior to peak demand.
Change in behavior can also help to conserve energy e.g. reducing the temperature in the washing machine will reduce energy consumption or use of modern appliances. Energy efficiency habit include turning off appliances when they are not in use.
Industrial Energy Use
Heavy industry is usually responsible for most energy consumption inwhich consumption may be ten times higher than consumption in other areas . With energy efficiency improvement, production processes could reduce energy consumption. Improvement in efficiency at the point of electricity generation is possible with recent developments in plant conception and design.
Benefits of using energy efficiently
Using energy more efficiently would:
Ø Reduce electricity bills.
Ø Leave more energy available to extend energy supply to all parts of the population.
Ø Increase the efficiency and resilience of the economy – including reduced reliance on oil and thus improve balance of payments.
Ø Improve industries’ competitiveness internationally.
Ø Minimize the building of new power stations and thus free up capital for otherinvestments like health and welfare.
Ø Reduce the negative environmental and human health impacts from energy productionand use.
Ø It will increase employment through interventions e.g. in industry, housing, transport.
Ø It will reduce local air pollution and global climate change.
Ø It will improve the security of energy supply and making modern energy affordable for the country.
Energy efficiency is a component that should be upheld to achieve sustainable development of our infrastructural sector and the need to conserve the present energy generated in the country using energy efficiency products and practices is essential. In the light of these, it is therefore recommended that policy makers should:
1) develop policies on energy efficiency and integrate them into current energyPolicies.
2) promote energy efficiency products and practices at the side of end users and energy generation.
3) create awareness on energy efficiency.
4) Strengthen agency (NERC) to promote the use of energy efficiency products and ensureenergy efficiency practices.
5) develop and imbibe energy efficiency technologies; and
6) develop appropriate drivers for the implementation of energy efficiency policy.
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