Nigerian businesses spend about N5 trillion ($14 billion) over poor electriicty supply, African Development Bank (AfDB) Group Energy Sector Specialist Dozie Okpalaobieri has said.
He said the cost incurred due to irregular supply of electricity was enormous, adding that about 80 million Nigerians lacked access to electricity.
He said more than one billion people live in darkness globally, with 80 per cent in sub-Sahara Africa and Asia, adding that a larger percentage of these people are found in rural areas.
Okpalaobieri said: ‘’Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 60 per cent of the people that do not have access electricity, with 58 per ent living in the rural areas.’’
According to him, the world requires $40 billioin to ensure that people have access to electricity by 2030, adding that off-grid method of electricity is the only option for African Continent to meet the energy needs of its people.
Speaking on the sideline of an energy forum in Lagos, Okpalaobieri said Nigeria was the biggest destination for solar and other methods of off-grid electricity in Africa, stressing that the country has a population of about 180 million, coupled with the fact that the country has the largest Gross Domestic Product (GDP), estimated to be around $405 billion annually.
He stressed the need to improve the generation of off-grid electricity and further make it commercially viable in Africa.
AfDB developed a 10-year strategy (2013-2022) to achieve an inclusive growth and transit to green energy. To him, how to “Light up and Power Africa” was central to governments and energy companies globally.
Okpalaobieri said Light Up Africa is aimed at solving energy challenges. He noted that a transformative programme on energy, mobilisation of local and foreign capital, strict energy regulation are needed to improve power supply on the continent.
He said: ‘’This is targeted at increasing on-grid generation, with a view to provide 160 gigawatts of capacity by 2025, and to also increase on-grid transmission and grid connections by 160 per cent to create 130 million new connections within the period.
‘’The idea will also increase off-grid generation, by providing 75 million connections by 2025. “
He said this figure is 20 times more than what Africa generates presently, stressing that the idea would enable 130 million households access clean energy.
Providing urban and rural population with electricity, according to him, is possible, when off-grid method of electricity is involved.
Okpalaobieri, however, said providing electricity to people through on-grid or traditional means was expensive and time consuming, compared to mini-grid electricity.
He urged energy firms to provide mini-grid power in large quantities because it is very effective.
With the off-grid approach, private participation would be ensured. The AfDB is support ng Rural Electrification Agency to achieve this goal.
“AfDB is developing private sector mini-grids in unserved and underserved areas that have growth potentials. Scaling up private sector development, by providing mini-grids electrictity to more than one million Nigerian households and small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs), is needed to achieve growth,’’ Okpalaobieri added.
AfDB is earmaking $70 millionn for production of mini-grid electricity and the bank is targeting about 250 mini-grid sites to achieve this goal. Also, the bank has promised to provide $10 million for the provision of solar energy in Nigeria, with a view to ensuring that households access electricuty for growth.
Again, the AfDB is providing $110 million for the energising education program targeting solar and solar-hybrid solutions for between six and eight federal universities and teaching hospitals across the country.
Authored By: Ambrose Nnaji