Nigeria has largest power deficit in the world yet exports electricity – Prof Edekin

…Why we are ranked 4th Best University – Aluyor, Edo University Uzairue

Nigeria has the largest energy deficit in the world according to Professor Evbogbai, Riekpen Jacob Edekin of Edo State University Uzairue.

Quoting a World Bank report, Edekin, a professor of electrical engineering, said collection of development indicators compiled from official sources in 2018 showed that only 56.5% of Nigerians have access to electricity out of the over 200 million people; meaning that about 97 million Nigerians, representing 43.5%, do not have access to electricity.

He added that a situation where Nigeria has not met her electricity need, but is exporting same to neighboring countries like Benin, Chad, Niger and Togo and supplying gas to Ghana under the West Africa Power Pool is worrisome.

The professor spoke while delivering the Second Inaugural Lecture of Edo University Uzairue last week at the auditorium of the institution.

The lecture was titled, Light, Man and Development: Photovoltaic Power Generation for Sustainable Development, and the occasion was attended by eminent academicians from within and outside Edo University Uzairue.

To redress the situation, Edekin suggested that Nigeria should make pragmatic effort to harvest sun energy for photovoltaic power generation for sustainable development.

His words: “As we speak, power generating companies can only generate about 3,000MW to over 200 million people in Nigeria.

“According to World Bank report collection of development indicators compiled from official sources in 2018, only 56.5% of Nigerians have access to electricity out of the over 200 million people; meaning that about 97 million Nigerians representing 43.5% do not have access to electricity.

“This makes Nigeria the country with the largest energy deficit in the world.

“Arising from these figures, per head consumption of electric is Nigeria is very low, if Nigeria and, indeed, the entire African continent is to meet the recommendations for sustainable millennium development goals, access to electricity has to be drastically improved”.

The professor argued that photovoltaic power generation, which is the direct conversion of light energy from the sun into electrical energy, is the most viable solution to resolve the electrical energy crisis, saying it is renewable, clean, cheap and environmental friendly.

Going down memory lane, Edekin said that, in spite of all the transformation for about four decades, the Nigeria electricity industry appears yet to start the journey of meeting the attributes of a well-established modern electrical power system network.

“These attributes are that power must be available, stable, reliable, economical and safe for consumption”, he stated.

“Successive governments have failed to achieve the desired result of providing electricity for domestic commercial and industrial consumers. “This has greatly hindered sustainable development in Nigeria.

“The Nigeria electricity industry, no doubt, is faced with many challenges; hence her abysmal services and performances were unsatisfactory to the electricity consumers.

‘Arising from this, the company got numerous back acronyms such as Never Expert Power Always (NEPA) (Umez, 2005), No Electrical Power at All Please Light Candle (NEPAPLC) and Please Hold a Candle Now (PHCN).

“Some of the challenges inhibiting the services and performance of the electricity industry in Nigeria include infrastructural constraint, insufficient end user tariff/pricing, inability to reduce aggregate technical, commercial and collection (ATC and C) losses, sector cash shortfall and sector governance (Challenges and Interventions Need in the Nigeria Electricity Supply Industry, 2021; Etim, eta’l, 2019).

“Nigeria at present has 23 electric power generating plants ( Power Generating Plants in Nigeria, 2021) connected to the national grid compared to the United States of America having 22,731 generating plants in its grid, as at 2019 (Nigerian Electricity Power Supply Industry Highlight, 2020).

“Nigeria can only generate about 4,000MW – 5000MW out of which about 3,000MW is available for consumption due to technical losses and infrastructural deficiencies in the electricity value chain despite the 12,500MW installment capacity in its power generations stations.

“Nigeria has 12,500MW of installed generation capacity which largely depends on hydro-power and fossil (gas) power sources which represents 12.50% and 87.50% respectively. It will be pertinent to note that currently, only about 3,500MW to 5,000MW is typically available for onward transmission to the final consumers.

“The lack of reliable and sustainable power is a significant constraint for citizens and businesses, resulting in annual economic losses.

“According to World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business Report (Abayomi, 2021), Nigeria ranks 131 out of 190 countries in getting electricity compared to its 171 position in 2013. This is an improvement.

“However for Nigeria to be in the first 20, there would be need to incorporate photovoltaic power generation in our electricity energy mix”. Edekin lamented that access to electricity is one of the major constraints to the private sector of Nigerian economy.

For this reason, he explained, some indigenous and foreign companies are relocating to other African countries such as Ghana and South Africa.

“In similar vein, new investors prefer to establish their companies and businesses in countries having access to adequate, stable and reliable electricity, in addition to favourable political and economic climate for the success of their businesses”, he stressed.

Deficit

“The high percentage of lack of access to electricity makes Nigeria the country with the largest energy deficit in the world. 1% increase in electricity consumption leads to 1.72% increase in economic growth (Electricity Consumption and Economic Growth, 2021). “The long term relationship suggests the existence of a positive relationship between the two variables.

“The result implies that the reduction in energy or electricity consumption will adversely affect economic growth.

“Hence the importance of electricity in the creation of new markets, businesses and job openings, which provides more opportunities for individuals to earn income and lift themselves, their families and their communities out of poverty, cannot be over emphasized.

“Lack of consistent, reliable power costs businesses and the economy as a whole a huge loss.

“Nations with high per head capital consumption of electricity have sustainable growth and development, hence high standard of living.

“A situation where Nigeria has not met her electricity need, but is exporting same to serve neighboring countries like Benin, Chad, Niger and Togo and gas supply to Ghana under the West Africa Power Pool is worrisome”.

Stating that there is a strong positive correlation between energy and economic growth, he said any negative shocks to energy, such as rise in energy prices or the impact of energy conservation policies, will have negative effect on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (The relationship between energy and economic growth, 2021).

“Therefore a deficit in energy will lead to a drop in GDP, thereby retarding sustainable development”, the expert added.

According to him, since solar energy is available for about 10 hours per day in Nigeria we can harness the energy of the sun through photovoltaic effect to power, small, medium and large scale industries.

Many countries and territories, he stated, have significantly installed photovoltaic power capacity in their electrical grids to supplement or provide an alternative to conventional energy sources (Solar Power By Country, 2021), saying China (254,355MW), European Union (152,917 MW) and the States (75,572MW) were the top installer from 2016 to 2020.

“Regrettably, Nigeria, despite her huge photovoltaic power potential, is not amongst the countries in the African continent that made the list.

“The African countries having grid connected photovoltaic power as at 2020 were South Africa (5,990), Egypt (1694), Morocco (734), Algeria (448), Cyprus (200), Senegal (115), Namibia (145) and Kenya (106).

“The import of this is that Nigeria and other developing nations should make pragmatic effort to harvest Sun energy for photovoltaic power generation for sustainable development”.

Edekin, in his recommendations, said government and the private sector should establish more mining and processing industries for the production of silicon and other additives for the production of solar panels for effective and maximum utilization of huge solid minerals reserve available in Nigeria as it will create wealth and employment opportunities for the country; appraisal of the existing Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) Centres in the six geo-political zones periodically to continuously monitor and evaluate the performance of these centres in terms of quality research output, standardization and demonstration to ensure success story of a fast growing and dynamic photovoltaic industry; collaborative efforts between indigenous and high-tech foreign processing industries should be encouraged through regularly organized seminars, workshops and conferences for cross fertilizations of ideas and product exhibitions; developmental result oriented research should be encouraged through adequate funding and organizational bureaucracy in accessing research grants should be minimized; adequate and regular monitoring of developmental projects and research sponsored by governmental or non-governmental agencies should be carried out to curb sharp practices in the process of disbursing and utilizations of the funds for specified project; government should create enabling environment for the commercialization of the photovoltaic power generation; high tech solar panel production factories should be established and the existing ones be properly equipped and funded to meet the demand for solar panels in Nigeria; government through its agencies should strongly support the development of the photovoltaic sector in policy measure, implementation and also in its research and demonstration activities, as this will make the sector more productive and competitive, thereby accelerating its evolution for sustainable development.

4th Best University

While introducing the Inaugural Lecturer earlier, the Vice Chancellor of Edo University Uzairue, Prof. E.O. Aluyor, said the institution, having been ranked the 4th Best University in Nigeria in the Times Higher Education 2021 Impact Ranking, has demonstrated the capacities to be an emerging world class university in Nigeria and Africa through its digitization of the modus operandi in executing her core mandate.

Aluyor listed other achievements of the university to include being the 1st in West Africa to adopt the CANVAS Learning Management System which is being used by 70% of Ivy League Universities in the world, 1st to acquire the Anatomage table and low fidelity and high fidelity Mannikins (Simman 3g) which enable the simulation of different kinds of scenarios for the training of Medical and Nursing Students, admission into the Consortium of New Sub-Saharan Medical Schools (CONSAMS), admission into the Association of African Universities (AAU), collaborations with University of Sunderland, UK and Worcester State University, USA for staff and Students Exchange programmes, operation of a Molecular Laboratory, temperature controlled classrooms and smart boards and projectors for delivery of lectures and en-suite hostels for students accommodation.

According to him, all programmes offered in the university are approved by the relevant regulatory bodies while it has graduated two sets of undergraduates in the Faculty of Arts, Management and Social Sciences and the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences. (Vanguard)

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