The International Energy Agency (IEA) defines energy security as “the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price. Energy security has many aspects: long-term energy security mainly deals with timely investments to supply energy in line with economic developments and environmental needs. On the other hand, short-term energy security focuses on the ability of the energy system to react promptly to sudden changes in the supply-demand balance.”
Nigeria is blessed with abundant natural resources, arable land and a teeming young population. The Nigerian economy has lived off oil and gas for survival since time immemorial. Nigeria has been caught in her own web of uncertainty due to various policy somersaults over time and kleptomaniac leaders holding sway in government.
Energy security – availability plays a major role in growing and sustaining world economies. Most leading economies are constantly improving on more reliable sources of energy particularly for electricity.
Nigeria is endowed with an annual average daily sunshine of 6.25 hours ranging between 3.5 hours at the coastal region and 9.0 hours in the northern region. Nigeria receives about 5.08 x 1012 kWh of energy per day from the sun and if solar energy appliances with just five per cent efficiency are used to cover only one per cent of the country’s surface area, then 2.54 x 10 6 MWh of electrical energy can be obtained from solar energy and this amount of electrical energy is equivalent to 4.66 million barrels of oil per day. There is a greater accessibility and availability of solar energy for Nigeria to develop her solar energy technology.
Nigeria also has enormous hydro-electricity potentials with seven river basins in the country, namely Sokoto, River Niger, Hadejia-Jama’re, Chad, Upper Benue, Lower Benue and Cross River with small scale hydropower potentials estimated to be about 734.2 MW.
Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) has estimated that Nigeria’s hydro potential currently stands at 12,220 MW.The future of Nigeria can indeed be bright if the abundant available renewable energy resources are harnessed. Nigeria has the potential to make available abundant electricity to her populace and also export electricity to neighbouring countries.
According to the World Bank census bureau (2013), Nigeria has a population of 173.6 million. It is no news that epileptic electricity supply has bedevilled Nigeria for years with the highest peak electricity supply of 5,074 MW recorded in February, 2016. This is a drop in the ocean compared to South Africa which produces about 40,000 MW electricity for a population of 52.98 million.
With the drop in water level of hydropower dams (Kainji, Shiroro and Jebba) in the dry season and the incessant unrest in the Niger Delta where bombing of oil and gas installations appears to be a recurrent threat to gas-power plants, the energy insecurity in Nigeria is so glaring and is a time bomb waiting to explode. If it does, the country may someday be subjected to total collapse.
With effective energy policies enacted by the government, investments will be attracted for the development of various sources in an energy mix which in-turn will ensure energy security for the nation.
• Oneal Lajuwomi is the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Wavelength Integrated Power Services Ltd.