Nigeria has 85m people without electricity, considers nuclear energy option

*The World Bank report indicates Nigeria now has 85 million people without needed access to electricity supply, considered the largest number in an absolute term ahead of Congo worldwide

*Lack of electricity causing businesses heavily in the country, to the tune of about $29 billion annually, whereas consumers pay for only a half of electricity they receive ─Ashish Khanna, WBG Practice Manager, West and Central Africa Energy

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

With about 85 million people without access to electricity out of the estimated 210 million population, Nigeria has overtaken the Republic of Congo as the country with less access to power supply globally, according to the World Bank.

Ashish Khanna, WBG Practice Manager, West and Central Africa Energy, disclosed this in his presentation in a virtual engagement with power reporters Wednesday, April 22 to explain the country’s Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP).

The WBG Practice Manager explained that Nigeria now has 85 million people without needed access to electricity supply, which is considered the largest number in an absolute term ahead of Congo across the world.

Khanna said: “Nigeria now has 25% more unelectrified people than the 2nd most unelectrified country (DRC – in absolute terms).

“For the bottom, 40% of the population (mostly rural), access to grid electricity is even lower at about 31% nationwide. Regionally, only south-west has access of over 50% (except Kano).

“While there have been a growth of 1.1 percent yearly since 2010 on electricity access in the country, It has not kept pace with population growth of 3% yearly.”

Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Honourable Minister for Science and Technology

He, however, pointed out that the power sector is operating inefficiently with unreliable supply because of high losses and lack of payment discipline.

Khanna stated: “The lack of electricity is causing businesses heavily in Nigeria to the tune of about $29 billion annually, while Nigerians pay for only a half of electricity they receive.”

In a related development, Nigeria is exploring a possibility of stabilising the much distressed electricity supply value chain with nuclear energy.

Subsequently, a Minister of the Federal Republic has urged the Nigerian Government to exploit the maximum benefits of peaceful nuclear energy to build a stable base power supply in the country.

Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, Honourable Minister for Science and Technology, made the call, when he declared open the recent Nigeria Energy Calculator 2050 (NECAL2050) stakeholders engagement, in Abuja, FCT, agency report said.

The Minister noted when Nigeria peacefully maximises nuclear energy, it would help to build a stable power supply base and would also benefit many socio-economic areas, such as medicine, agriculture, education, manufacturing and overall national economic growth.

The Nigeria Energy calculator 2050 is an energy planning model, which will offer choices in the energy development to be examined alongside its environmental consequences.

Dr. Onu, remarking on safety concerns of the use of nuclear energy said urged the active participation of the Organised Private Sector (OPS) to research and develop nuclear technology for the overall benefit of Nigerians.

“Our dear nation cannot continue to stay away from the peaceful use of Nuclear Technology.

“The concern for safety is one that can be adequately handled through the participation of the private sector in Nuclear Technology,” said the Minister.

He further noted: “We should bring in our business people so that they can start making money working on Nuclear Technology.

“We should also work with any country, all countries willing to assist Nigeria in acquiring the necessary expertise needed in Nuclear Technology.”

He also urged the country to partner with other economies willing to help in the development of necessary expertise in Nuclear Technology.

Earlier, Prof. Eli Jidere Bala, Director-General of the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN), said the United Kingdom (UK) is collaborating with the Commission to develop the Nigeria Energy Calculator 2050 (NECAL2050), which is a key energy planning tool.

Prof. Bala said: “In order to update and improve on the 2015 version of NECAL 2050 as well as to facilitate the review and deepening of Nigeria’s National Determined Contribution, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Energy of the United Kingdom through the British High Commission in the 2nd quarter, arranged a support for Nigeria despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Also an MOU was signed between the Department of Climate Change of the Federal Ministry of Environment and United Kingdom at the premises of the British High Commission in Abuja, on the 23rd of June 2020.since then work has commenced with the formation of National Steering Committee and Technical Working Group.”

The ECN Chief stated: “Again, Consortium from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Energy Imperial College and Ricardo and Climate are technically supporting this project.”

According to him, the Nigeria Energy Calculator 2050 (NECAL2050) will help to promote global warming mitigation in the country.

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