Nigeria: Expert says more investments needed to guarantee energy security

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Nigeria: Expert says more investments needed to guarantee energy security
Patrick Tolani/ PetrolGas Report
A renewable energy expert, Patrick Tolani has said in view of the high rate of energy poverty in the country, more work and investment are needed to guarantee energy security.

Speaking in a chat with PETROLGAS REPORT, Tolani who is the Chief Executive Officer of Community Energy Social Enterprise Limited (CESEL) stated that the supply of electricity in the country is low compared to the needs of its population.

In his words, “For a population that is said to be about 170 million people, about 7,000MW of electricity supply is still abysmally low.  You also need to take into account that our transmission capacity is still a little bit below that figure.

“We are also aware that about 2,000MW of that amount is under-utilized because the DISCOs are not distributing all that is available to be sold a daily basis.

“All those should leave any right-thinking person worried about energy security in Nigeria.   When we juxtapose that with the self-generation devices that we have in Nigeria from heavy industrial generation to what is called “I pass my neighbour generators” you would agree with me that there are serious issues that need urgent attention in order to reverse the current trend,” he said.

According to him, although the alternative energy programme is making incremental progress, the pace is too slow.

Speaking further, he said there is no area in Nigeria without a natural resource that can be used to power the area.

He said, “The Northern part of Nigeria will benefit immensely from the use of solar PV given the prospect of sunlight in the North. The South-South can still benefit from gas and other renewable energy resources that the region can boast of.

“Other parts of Nigeria, for instance, the North Central part of the country have great Hydro Power potentials. I believe we are more than ready to utilize these resources and get ourselves out of energy poverty.

“Recently, one of the Governors in the South West asked my company to explore the potentials of eleven rivers with significant power generation potentials.  When our company carried out the pre-feasibility study, it was apparent that nine of those rivers can generation at least 25MW of electricity.

“That is a significant opportunity that has been lying fallow in that state with the people coping with darkness daily.

“I strongly believe that we are surely ready for the renewable energy revolution in Nigeria,” he said.

Speaking on project financing, he said the nation’s banking sector has little knowledge of the renewable energy space adding that international financial institutions that have put their resources into changing the narrative.

“There is no doubt that in Nigeria, project financing is still a big issue.

“Our conventional banks are not in any way near a position where you can say that they understand the sector let alone lending their money into projects in the sector.

“However, there are so many international financial institutions that have put their resources into changing the narrative.  Any serious developer is aware that there is finance all over the place now.

“All that is required is to have viable projects that can take advantage of the opportunities that are available in the sector.  There are also many organizations that are working to serve as interface between developers and investors globally,” he added.

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