A great nation like Nigeria requires about $ 900 billion to further develop the sector over the next 30 year in order to properly fix the challenges bedevilling its energy sector.
The statistics revealed by the organisers of the on-going Nigeria Energy Forum at Oriental Hotel, Lekki, Lagos, said the nation also needed no fewer than $ 10 billion in the next few years to reinstate its power infrastructure.
According to Innovation and Strategy Lead official, Mrs Bamise Olanrewaju, the forum, which focused on “Energy Access Targets”, is targeted at ensuring that leaders take ambitious decisions to bridge the wide gap between energy demand and supply in Nigeria, in order to achieve national energy access targets and meet the new United Nation Sustainable Development Goals.
Olanrewaju, in a statement said, in other to attract private investment in the sector, “Nigeria has to build new power plants, develop new gas transmission infrastructure, expand the existing electricity transmission and distribution network, develop local manufacturing capabilities for energy systems equipment, and train professionals to operate and maintain the energy system”.
Besides, she added that government also needed to develop innovative incentives and mechanisms to leverage private sector investment for development of the energy sector.
Lamenting the poor state of the sector in recent times, she pointed out that Nigeria is currently the largest economy in Africa with a population of over 170 million people, of which about 50 per cent of the population have no access to the national electricity grid and only 18 per cent of people living in rural areas have grid access.
“The nation has a peak electricity demand of 13000 Mega Watts with an installed on-grid generation capacity of 7500 MW, of which only 4000 MW is operable. About 90 per cent of industrial consumers and a significant number of residential and non-residential consumers provide their own power at huge cost to themselves and the Nigerian economy,” she stated.
These technical barriers, according to her, would constrain economic growth and setback Nigeria’s target of being among the world’s top 20 economies by 2020.
To address these grand challenges, the Federal Government has been implementing a Power Sector Reform to privatize electricity generation and distribution companies, increase private investment and develop a market-based economy for the power sector.
NEF 2016 is hosted on the platform of the Nigerian Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (NIEEE), a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE).
The group however lamented that women are adversely affected by the lack of renewable energy solutions, as they are most often the primary energy managers in their households.
“This is especially true in developing countries, where women do the cooking and cleaning but lack access to electricity. They often use unsafe methods like kerosene or fires,” it stated.