Although, there are about 645 million people without electricity in Africa, with about 90 million Nigerians affected, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said the Federal Government is doing everything possible to reverse the trend in Nigeria.
Fashola, at a post-event interview with The Guardian on the side line of the on-going first Africa Investment Forum (AIF), organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB), in Johannesburg, South Africa, yesterday, said the Ministry expects over 1000 megawatts (mw) to come on stream next year.“We have also put in place about 90 transmission projects in various stages of completion. We have discovered transmission has a challenge and attention has been shifted to overcoming it. There is a 10-year transmission expansion plan, government is leading on that, investing N72 billion for the immediately off-take of the 2000MW that is available but yet to be distributed. We are working with the distribution companies on this.’’
Fashola, who was also a panellist at the ‘Powering Africa’s Transformation’ session, said about three years ago, the big conversation was that there was no enough power, the transmission system is weak. “Today, we have enough power, but we are not distributing. It means that what we did in generation, we must do more in distribution. We have over 7000MW generation of power as at today; transmission capacity is expanding, though not at the right pace, but we are working on it. Before the end of this year, about 900MW would be delivered; 450MW has already been delivered by Azure.”
Fashola noted that power generation and distribution require more efforts, stressing that cost of energy is shrouded in lots of technicalities including training, building of infrastructure, transmission, and a host others.
Meanwhile, the AfDB also disclosed that of the world’s 20 countries with the least access to electricity, 13 are in Africa, including Nigeria, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Mozambique, Madagascar, Niger, Malawi, Burkina Faso, and Angola.
But the Continent, according to AfDB, has enormous untapped renewable energy, where it is estimated that around 93 per cent of economically feasible hydropower potential remains unused.AfDB said sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), has undiscovered, but technically recoverable, energy resources estimated at about 115.34 billion barrels of oil and 21.05 trillion cubic metres of gas.
To deliver universal energy access in SSA, the region, according to AfDB requires an additional $28 billion in yearly investment over and above the level in the new policies scenario.“Africa’s renewable energy sources are diverse, unevenly distributed and enormous in quantity, almost unlimited solar potential (10 TW), abundant hydro (350 gigawatts, GW), wind (110 GW), and geothermal energy sources (15 GW).
“An investment of about $43-55 billion per year is needed until 2030-2040 to meet demand and provide universal access to electricity, whereas currently, investment in the energy sector is about $8-9.2 billion. In a full energy integration scenario, power pools would save US$43 billion per year by 2040,” the bank noted.
According to AfDB, Africa’s population is forecast to increase to 1.8 billion by 2040, with demand for energy to grow yearly by six per cent to 2040.To meet this demand, the regional bank said power generation capacity has to increase from the current 124GW to 700GW by 2040.AfDB explained that the Continent has 16 per cent of the world’s population (1.18 billion out of a total 7.35 billion), and only consumes about 3.3 per cent of global primary energy.
“Africa uses more renewable energy than any other of the world’s regions, deriving as much as 70 per cent of its energy consumption from renewable sources. With current trends, it will take Africa until 2080 to achieve full access to electricity. The total grid capacity in East Africa has tripled since 2000 as a number of major hydropower projects have come on stream,” it stated.