Omorogbe: Nigeria’s Power Sector, a Dismal Failure

Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, an expert in international economic law, was once a company secretary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. She was recently elected the first female president of the Nigerian Association of Energy Economics. In this interview, she explained to Chineme Okafor, how Nigeria’s poorly-run energy sector affects the country’s growth. Excerpts:Congratulations on your election as NAEE’s new president. How has the Nigerian energy sector fared under President Buhari? Thank you very much. I am delighted and honoured to have been elected. However, I must state that the views expressed here are mine and should not be taken to be the views of NAEE. The energy sector is composed of the power and petroleum sectors, which are administered by two different ministries in Nigeria. Both have not fared well for the past twenty years. The petroleum industry has been in standstill mode for the past three national assemblies, notwithstanding the appearance of motion that has been the norm over this same period. It is therefore true to say that President Buhari’s tenure did not see any significant changes to the status quo. No bill was passed, no legislative changes were made, and therefore no lasting structural change really occurred. Some will take me up on this because of the various changes that occurred under the immediate past Group Managing Director, Dr Maikanti Baru, these were quite significant, but they were administrative. Administrative changes, no matter how significant, cannot solve structural problems that need to first be addressed through legal reform. The power industry has fared even worse. Simon Kolawole’s article, which I read in The Cable online, captures the tragedy of this sector. He describes picking up a 1988 magazine headlined ‘NEPA – A Nation in Darkness’, which was a special focus on Nigeria’s power problems, and seeing that, notwithstanding the seeming movement, including privatisation and commercialisation and billions of dollars expended, the power situation in Nigeria had not improved. As he brilliantly puts it, ‘between 1988 and 2017, we have spent at least $30 billion on the power sector to generate uninterrupted darkness.’ We are in the second half of 2019, constant daily blackouts are still the order of the day, and generators are indispensable accessories for all who can afford them. You were once at the NNPC and understand its processes, have you lately seen the corporation add value to its overall activities, I’m talking about upstream, midstream and downstream operations? I was Secretary to the Corporation and Legal Adviser for two and half years, as part of a process that was supposed to, but did not, usher in reform. So, I came in as an outsider who was determined to see change, without a thorough understanding of the systems and structures within the government vis-à-vis the petroleum sector, and the extent to which certain higher echelons in the corporation were resistant to change. I was appointed by Dr Rilwanu Lukman, who was presidential adviser on petroleum, and chairman of the Oil and Gas Sector Implementation Committee (OGIC) that I was a member of, and who subsequently became minister of petroleum. During his tenure, there was a semblance of continuing reform although the anti-reform factors were already apparent. With his exit and the emergence of Diezani Alison-Madueke as minister, there were no real moves towards reform once it became apparent that an essential part of petroleum reform involves whittling away ministerial powers and increasing the powers of the regulators and other principal actors in the industry. I left NNPC with a greater understanding of its processes and challenges, and with a greater appreciation of its existing systems, the demands that are often made on it, and the need for it to be able to operate as a functional national oil company, at par with other commercialised national oil companies. This can only happen when NNPC is empowered to be a strong and viable national oil company, or possibly a few national oil companies, depending on government direction.  So, has NNPC been able to add value to activities in the petroleum industry? Definitely. Dr Baru was very successful as an administrator and manager and NNPC became far more efficient ant self-sustaining. However, he was clearly hampered by the absence of enabling laws that would have allowed for greater efficiency and commercialisation. I believe that is why Mr. Melee Kyari is already speaking about reform, and the need for a Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB). It (NNPC) also talks confidently now that it has opened up its books for people to see through, but it does look like Nigerians still don’t understand how it works, and this is with exact reference to subsidy payment for petrol imported. How do you rate NNPC on this? This is where energy correspondents and other members of the press come in handy. Your job is to first have a good inter-disciplinary understanding of the energy industry, and the Nigerian energy industry in particular, and then break down the concepts that you are dealing with into understandable language for your readers, so that they will truly be able to follow subsidy and other technical discussions pertaining to the energy sector. Truly, NNPC has become less opaque; and its left to those who wish to know to become more knowledgeable so that they can ask the right questions and get the information that they need. Concerning subsidies, it is not purely an NNPC issue. The Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Authority (PPPRA) has a critical role to play. Also, subsidies cannot be critiqued without an understanding of the Nigerian state and the role it plays in perpetuating this practice. On several occasions, including as part of our communique issued at our last conference in May 2019, NAEE has clearly stated that the cost of petroleum subsidies outweighs the supposed benefits, and that the government should do a proper cost/benefit analysis of the scheme and commence other targeted interventions that would lead to sustainable, affordable and available energy for transportation, particularly for the vulnerable sectors of the populace. Isn’t it a shame that Nigeria still relies on imported petrol to run her economy and what suggestions will the NAEE give to people in government on this, especially with regards to finding a good solution to the decrepit refineries of the NNPC in Kaduna, Warri and Port Harcourt? Yes, the fact that a major oil producer relies on imported production for its domestic consumption is certainly a big tragedy. NNPC knows the state of its refineries better than anyone, and the new GMD Mr. Mele Kyari has already commented on their state. There are many seasoned downstream persons still in the Corporation, and many other very experienced ex-NNPC persons who remember the days of functional Nigerian refineries with nostalgia. Mele Kyari, the new man at the helms of the NNPC has described as a reformer. What would be your thoughts and expectations from him? I have known Mr Mele Kyari, right from when he was a manager in the Crude Oil Marketing Division. I know him to be a level-headed and quietly courteous man. He has been involved in reform for several years and has a sound knowledge of the petroleum industry and the workings of NNPC. He definitely knows about the imperative of reform and the need for a revamped and appropriate legal structure, which is why he has been talking about passing petroleum legislation almost from his time of resumption.The NAEE has a very cordial relationship with NNPC, and I am sure that it will grow closer under Mele Kyari. The corporation has been part of NAEE from the onset and has always supported us. In fact, the first programmes of the association were in NNPC Towers. A lot of credit for this goes to Dr. Timothy Okon, who retired from NNPC as a Group Executive Director, who is presently an adviser on the executive council, and a Fellow of NAEE. I should also mention that our grand patron is a former GMD, Chief Funso Kupolokun.Would NAEE support deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector, if yes, how best should it be done? As previously stated, NAEE is of the opinion that the subsidy regime in Nigeria is ineffective, and it can therefore be said to support deregulation of the downstream. It is certainly willing to engage with the necessary institutions to discuss this, and can easily do this, as its many members include top personnel from all the energy institutions in Nigeria.The government in recent times have been talking about ending flares and creating an autonomous gas market, what is your take on this? The government has been talking about gas utilisation for many years. Unfortunately, moves to create a viable gas domestic market, and to stop the constant flaring have been caught up in the politics of petroleum reform. The result is that Nigeria actually increased its flaring in 2018 and was one of the top 15 highest flaring countries in the world in 2018. There are many plans for gas utilisation. If the government finally has the willpower to implement, and actually takes concrete steps – which must commence with the creation of a viable policy and legal framework for gas utilisation – that will be good for the country and for the environment. In the meantime, there are however promising initiatives, such as the work being done in the ministry of petroleum resources to structure and implement a programme to attract competent third party off-takers to invest in gas utilisation programmes, as part of the Nigeria Gas Flares Commercialisation Programmes. How do you think the PIB should be approached going forward? The Petroleum Industry Bill was first drafted by the Oil and Gas Sector Implementation Committee that I was a member of. Specifically, I was Chairperson of the Legal and Regulatory Subcommittee of the OGIC, which came up with the initial draft that was submitted to the National Assembly in 2008.  Since then, we have had various drafts and redrafts, but the end result has remained the same. Eleven years later, we have no petroleum industry law, the legal framework, which is undoubtedly defective has not changed, and the industry is not faring well, to put it mildly. Simply put, there is no alternative to reform. I just hope we move during this Assembly. The world isn’t waiting for Nigeria, petroleum discoveries are constantly being made in many other countries, and electric cars signal the end of the era of petroleum. I hope that Nigeria finally creates an optimal legal and regulatory framework that will allow the emergence of a petroleum industry that works for the good of Nigeria and Nigerians. Like I have earlier said, I believe that the new GMD understands the urgency and imperative of reform, and so I am expectant. Nigeria has also stalled on marginal oil fields re-allocation, and experts consider this to be a bad decision, what do you think is responsible for that? The problem of marginal field allocations is again structural, from a legal and policy perspective. Therefore, the problem is not so much the companies that currently have allocations, as much as the environment within which they operate, and the extent to which there are laws and policies which encourage their growth and existence. I would not say that marginal field companies are neither honest nor accountable. Let’s look at the electricity industry – another troubled segment of Nigeria’s energy sector. What do you think needs to be fixed in that sector? The electricity sector is actually much more than a troubled segment of Nigeria’s energy industry. So far, that sector is frankly speaking, a dismal failure, and until we come to terms with this fact, we will get nowhere in our quest for constant electricity for every Nigerian. That has to be our goal, because life without modern energy services – which incorporate accessible and affordable energy and clean cooking and motor fuels – is nasty, brutish and short. This is now a well-known and incontrovertible fact internationally, but somehow, we do not know this in Nigeria. We have become a nation where everyone has a generator, because of the epileptic nature of our electricity supply, even if you are connected to the electricity grid. In other countries, generators are backups in case of infrequent blackouts. In Nigeria, unfortunately, when there is not light for days, (and that is not an unusual occurrence) the generator is the primary source of supply. The result is that numerous businesses have at least two large generators, with all the attendant environmental and financial negatives.  Right now, half of the population has no electricity, and those of us that do, suffer from frequent interruptions. Nigeria has an electricity access rate of 54 per cent, lower than Ivory Coast with 66 per cent, Gabon with 92 per cent, and Ghana which has 79 per cent. The Gambia has a 56 per cent electricity access rate while all of North Africa has 100 per cent access, with the exception of strife-ridden Libya, and even that troubled country has an electricity access rate of 72 per cent. Outside Africa, the average country has 100 per cent electricity access, including China which achieved 100 per cent access in 2017 for its 1.3 billion citizens. We may be Africa’s largest economy, but we are lagging far behind in this area, and this does not augur well for our development. Think of where we would be if all Nigerians had adequate energy? Clearly, having a virile electricity sector is not an insurmountable task. If other countries have done it, why can’t we? Why Nigeria has been unable to achieve 100 per cent electricity access is a complex answer and I will not attempt to give my perspective on this issue comprehensively. However, I will say that Nigerians do not yet see that electricity is a necessity for all persons, irrespective of where they reside or their level of income, and this includes those who are supposed to be planning for electricity. To put this conversation in perspective, South Africa generates 51,000 megawatts (MW), from varied energy sources, has a population of 67 million; and produces 3.904-kilowatt hour per person per year. Egypt has 100 per cent electricity coverage from 40,000MW, and has nearly one hundred million people. However, Nigeria has an installed capacity of about 12,000MW, normally generates about 4,000MW daily, and has about 200 million people. For a country of nearly 200 million people to be planning for 20,000MW, as we did in our ‘Vision 2020’ document is very strange to me.  From my engineering layman perspective, I would say that we need at least 100,000MW for the entire country, and that figures below this are premised on policy makers not factoring poor people into their country’s growth forecasts, possibly because they will not be able to afford it. We need to find out how other countries have approached and surmounted this issue of pricing, as electricity is essential to quality of life. Also, modern development as we know it is impossible without modern energy services. If some segments of the population don’t have energy, they will not develop sustainably. Are we saying that some Nigerians are not entitled to electricity? How have you planned to spend your tenure at the NAEE, what do you intend to be remarkable about it and can you confirm if you’re the first female to lead the association? Yes, I am the fourth and first female President of the Nigerian Association of Energy Economics. I am also the first lawyer to be President. Having a lawyer as President isn’t an anomaly. Anyone who has read one of my books, ‘The Oil and Gas Industry; Exploration and Production Contracts’, will know that in the course of my work I dealt with issues that petroleum economics are also concerned with. Foundationally speaking, I am an international economic lawyer, and have always approached energy law from that perspective, as it makes the study of the legal issues and frameworks come alive. A basic understanding of energy economics is necessary for any professional who wants to delve deep into energy research. That is why the association is not just for energy economists, but for all energy professionals with an interest in knowing more and advancing knowledge of energy economics. There are several engineers who are members. My tenure will definitely be characterised by sustained discourses and activities to promote enhanced access to modern energy services, which I am very passionate about. It is a great shame that Nigeria’s energy access rates are amongst the lowest in the world. We need to know these facts and more. We need to see the havoc that our present electricity situation is creating. We need to know that access to adequate and affordable energy has got to be seen as a right for all Nigerians, because it is only when we all have this that we will reach our true potential. NAEE is a great association with many distinguished and committed members, and every event of the Association provides an opportunity to meet and rub minds with serious professionals from government, industry and academia. It also provides great opportunities for student members, and a student representative is member of the Council. NAEE remains committed to making positive contributions to the advancement of energy studies, and definitely, increased energy access for all Nigerians, wherever they may reside.

Addressing energy sustainability, climate change challenges in Nigeria

The use and exploration of energy resources in Nigeria and many African countries have continued to generate serious concern, especially in relation to the growing environmental challenges across the continent. KINGSLEY JEREMIAH writes.The need to use energy in such a way that a country’s short, medium, and long-term economic projections are met without undermining present and future generations remains a critical topic across the world considering growing climate change challenges.Globally, attention is shifting to renewable energy, energy-efficient technologies, and the appropriate use of conventional energy resources. But the situation in Nigeria and other African countries raises serious concern. In commemorating the 2019 World Energy Day, the concern for most stakeholders has been the need to balance the dual challenge of meeting the demand and supply side of energy while being environmentally accountable.It is critical to note that Nigeria and other African countries are a signatory to the Paris Agreement and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which specifically requires countries to focus less on fossil fuels and more on renewables. United Nations in a report had described Africa’s road to sustainable energy as being bumpy.For instance, the collection of wood for fuel is responsible for the loss of 350,000 hectares of land yearly to desertification.Indeed, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) had reported that between 2000 and 2005, the country lost 55.7 per cent of its primary forests, and the rate of forest change increased by 31.2 per cent to 3.12 per cent per annum. Reportedly, from 1990 to 2010 nearly half of Nigeria’s forest cover was destroyed. With the rate of wood felling for cooking purposes, Nigeria, having the fourth highest deforestation rate in the world, may according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, continue to lose over 400,000 hectares of land per year while major natural resources are projected to disappear in the next 30 years.The implications are that there would be increasing temperatures and decreasing rainfall as emissions from deforestation in Nigeria reportedly stands at 87 per cent.The National Conservative Agency had stated that Nigeria is emitting about 200 million metric tons of greenhouse gases from different traditional energy sources such as kerosene, burning of charcoal and others.While the health of women is particularly endangered by constant exposure to smote from firewood, charcoal and the processes through which such energy sources are retrieved, 150,000 women and children in Nigeria are reportedly affected by indoor air pollution and contributed to lead-causes of death.Home to about 20 million people and 40 different ethnic groups, the environmental degradation due to oil exploration in the Niger Delta is not only a global case study but one that threatens lives as well as other natural resources at a location considered the largest wetland and the third-largest drainage basin in Africa.In what most stakeholders considered as the carelessness of the oil industry, the Niger Delta region is projected to lose 40 per cent of its inhabitable terrain in the next thirty years. The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) had estimated that about 1.89 million barrels of petroleum were spilled into the Niger Delta between 1976 and 1996 out of a total of 2.4 million barrels spilled in 4,835 incidents. Similarly, a report by the UN noted that about 6,817 oil spills occurred between 1976 and 2001, amounting to the loss of three million barrels of oil, of which more than 70 per cent was not recovered.The prevailing situation has led to a loss of 10 per cent of Nigeria’s mangrove ecosystems while rainforest which previously occupied some 7,400 km² of land has disappeared. This development also remained a major concern for agriculture, the health of the dwellers as well as other resources such as fish. To underscore the growing challenges across the continent, a 2018 report by UN Environment and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, a South Africa–based research organisation stated that only 4 per cent of the continent’s wastes are currently being recycled indicating that though waste remains a key such of energy, Africa’s waste management is still in its infancy.For Professor Yinka Omorogbe, President, Nigeria Association for Energy Economics and Edo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, African leaders must consider the need for energy growth in such a way that the environment is not further adversely affected, even as they recognize that the present situation where the majority of the people, who are poor, have biomass as their major energy source is not sustainable. “We, who are energy poor, need to unlock sustainable energy now more than ever. Climate change issues are real. We have to grow, all of us. The only way is through sustainable energy. I’m not saying any fossil fuels. For Nigeria, we need to harness our petroleum for our own good and expand. It should be first for our development, and secondarily as a source of revenue. We need to utilise our renewables- hydro, solar, wind- especially for off-grid communities,” she said.To her, Nigeria must think and act strategically, with an eye on the future. Noting that though some North African countries have practically 100 per cent energy access, she stated energy challenge is not receiving the needed attention on the continent, adding Rwanda and Ghana as examples that other countries could reference. Insisting on the need to realise that the country and continent have a fundamental problem without which they can never develop, Omorogbe said lack of access to modern energy services could frustrate education, especially for the girl child, affect delivery and health as well as cripple growth of industries. Omorogbe said: “Sustainable energy would mean good and strategic planning involving a mix of energy sources, including renewables, which we have in abundance.” Chief Executive of Energy Institute, Louise Kingham, who had decried the rate of desertification in the country, warned that if necessary measures were not adopted, more serious deserters may be experienced through environmental degradation while urging the oil industry to invest on new energy technology across its value chain. The Founder/Principal Partner at Nextier Advisory, Patrick Okigbo noted that the approach of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to renewable energy sources for power supply is good way to solve the power problem while also helping to preserve the environment “One of the many environmental challenges in Nigeria is deforestation. This is worsened by the need for and pattern of fuelwood exploitation in Nigeria. Fuelwood accounts for about 90 percent of rural household energy consumption. It is an alternative fuel source in some urban cities. Nigeria is rich with natural gas. It is time to have a massive national programme that makes cooking gas available to all. We should reduce the need to cut down trees for fuel,” Okigbo said. Chief Executive Officer, Degeconek and former President of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), Abiodun Adesanya said the country must recognise the global shift in the energy mix, stressing that the components of what usually provides the energy has changed. However, Adesanya noted that for Nigeria, fossil fuel remains a key component, adding that though projects like the Mambilla hydropower project is expected to come on stream, the country’s abundance gas resources may douse the zeal to explore other options. “Going forward, we have to explore other sources of energy and try as much to bring them on board. We still have huge energy in power generation and refining capacity. So, we may be going around fossil fuel for a while. But the carbon footprint in Nigeria is high. We need to find incentives to bring that down and reward those bringing it down. ‘If you look like in China, for instance, they are still utilising coals substantially because they believe they have acute power challenges. I am of a similar frame of mind. Let’s use what we have so that when we have attained a particular level, we will be talking about other issues,” he said. The Chairman, International Energy Services (IES) Ltd., Diran Fawibe, who noted that the level of energy poverty on the continent is undermining climate change challenges urged Nigeria and other African countries to set up feasible policies for energy mix. Decrying the continent’s energy security challenges despite the huge resources, Fawibe stated African countries must look at renewable energy, adding that the current drive by both federal and state governments in Nigeria to boost energy from renewable sources should be sustained. “We can engage in wind energy. This is a good option to enhance availability. We need to look at waste to energy also. With this, we could secure the environment. Carbon emission remains a global threat that must be taken seriously,” he said. He blamed the lack of seriousness toward climate change on the continent on the fact that the countries are still battling with energy poverty, adding that there was the need for a coherent programme that will lead to energy sustainability.

Examining Nigeria’s Energy Usage On the occasion of the World Energy Day (WED) celebration

Chineme Okafor, examines the nexus between Nigeria’s use of its energy resources and its economic development The WED is observed yearly on October 22nd to raise awareness of global energy-related issues. As an annual practice, it was reportedly first proclaimed on July 22, at the World Energy Forum 2012. Celebrated internationally to raise awareness of the need to rally around the creation and implementation of policies that increase energy efficiency and conserve natural resources, the WED has always aimed to demonstrate the impact of energy choices made by countries and individuals with regards to production and use on the environment at large. But as the world marks the day, Nigeria has yet from existing records truly developed viable means of supplying energy adequately to its people and economy. This, from the perspectives of experts leaves a lot of questions on it hopes to drive her development plans further. Energy supply in Nigeria Currently relying on imported petroleum products as well as a meagre volume of electricity from the national grid to run its economy, Nigeria by key global standards has remained poor in its energy production and supply. For example, the World Bank in its 2018 proposal to support the country to grow its electricity sector, stated that data from its 2014 Nigeria World Bank Enterprise Survey showed that provision of electricity supply remained the biggest constraint to doing business in Nigeria. The Bank noted that electricity supply was the most significant obstacle in all regions of the country except the north-west, adding that younger firms, exporters, and manufacturers operating in Nigeria were most likely to identify provision of electricity as the biggest obstacle. It equally indicated that having reliable electricity supply was consistently associated with higher levels of productivity, but among households in Nigeria, electricity access was still limited with a large variation across the regions of the country. Looking deeper into the country’s current energy situation and with regards to electricity supply, Nigeria’s power supply has remained on a steady decline over the last three months of July, August and September with average daily supply from the national grid to homes and offices in the country falling to 3473 megawatts (MW) in September. Data on this which THISDAY obtained from the Advisory Power Team in the Office of the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, disclosed that in July, average daily supply to Nigerians was 3676MW, which subsequently dropped to 3526MW in August, and further down to 3473MW in September. The production records which came when operators in the country’s power sector intensely engaged in various forms of fight over their condition of operations, showed that between July and September, the average daily power generation and distribution from the country’s national grid was 3557MW. Osinbajo’s office also noted that within the period, the average volume of constrained electricity – that is electricity that could not get to homes and offices dues to various challenges such as low gas supply; unavailability of transmission and distribution infrastructure; as well as water management challenges, was 4013MW. It explained that in July, the volume of constrained power was 3872MW. This however rose to 4020MW in August and further to 4147MW in September, as a result of which N57.619 billion; N59.820 billion and N59.714 billion were respectively not earned by the sector within the three-month period. In details, through a 10-day power production assessment THISDAY did for the three months under consideration, it observed that the country could not produce up to the 4000MW customary production figure government official often quoted as average daily power production level of the country. For example, on July 1, it observed that the available volume of power to the grid was 3526Mw which rose to 3830MW on July 10 but subsequently down to 3645MW before closing the month on a 3750MW generation level. On August 1, it was down to 3733MW and further to 3482MW on August 10, and then 3673MW and 3361MW on August 20 and 31. By September 1, power on the grid dropped to 3176MW and then up to 3637MW on September 10, before falling to 3595MW on September 20 and then ending the month on a paltry 3380MW production level. “On September 30, 2019, average energy sent out was 3,380MWH/Hour (down by 162.02MWH/Hour from the previous day) 1911MW was not generated due to unavailability of gas. 112.5MW was not generated due to unavailability of transmission infrastructure, while 1,776MW was not generated due to high frequency resulting from unavailability of distribution infrastructure.,” the report from Vice President’s office stated. However, within this period, the country witnessed the electricity distribution companies (Discos) consistently quarreled with the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) over alleged mismanagement of electricity loads, with the TCN accusing the Discos of rejecting loads allocated to them because they lacked the capacity to distribute as much electricity as possibly generated to the grid by the power generation companies (Gencos). The Gencos equally clashed with the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company Plc (NBET), and alleged the agency unilaterally imposed a 0.75 per cent levy on them as administrative charges for paying their gas invoices. The Gencos claimed the NBET had also made efforts to takeover payment of their gas invoices as a condition for them to benefit from a new N600 billion intervention package from the federal government, while their monthly earnings for power produced for the grid further dwindled. Experts worried over situation The Nigerian Association of Energy Economics (NAEE) said it would within the WED highlight the impacts of poor energy supplies to the economy of the country. The NAEE which is an affiliate of the International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE) with a presence in over 70 countries all over the world, explained that it was important for Nigeria to consider the place of energy planning in its energy production and supply matrix. Its president, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, stated in an interaction with THISDAY that the WED presents the association an opportunity to get Nigerians and its policy makers talking about ways to sustainably harness the country’s numerous energy sources. “This year I am interested in promoting and amplifying the discourse on energy in Nigeria, and why we must have it, all of us, not just the urban dwellers or industries, but also the rural dweller. “People in Nigeria don’t realise that practically every development issue can be traced to a lack of modem energy. You can’t get good teachers into village schools if these villages have no electricity or modern water systems driven by energy. You can’t have basic health without energy. Medicines need to be kept at certain temperatures,” said Omorogbe. She further explained that: “Infant and maternal health suffer- imagine falling into labour at night and the nurse or doctor having taken delivery using a kerosene lamp? “Do you know that kerosene is incredibly expensive and yet that’s what rural and urban poor are forced to use? Do you know that kerosene and firewood kill hundreds of thousands of people, mainly women and children, every year?” According to Omorogbe, Nigeria has failed to comprehensively develop her numerous energy sources, thus leaving lots of her population without access to healthy energy sources. She indicated that this was a poor developmental practice that needs to change. “We are using little or no modern energy for our use, whether fossil fuels, solar, or wind. At the same time our poor are existing on biomass and cutting down trees for their energy and thereby depleting carbon sinks. “We who are energy poor need to unlock sustainable energy now more than ever. Climate change issues are real. We have to grow, all of us. The only way is through sustainable energy,” she added. Going further, Omorogbe stated that: “I am not saying no fossil fuels. For Nigeria we need to harness our petroleum for our own good and expand. It should be first for our development, and secondarily as a source of revenue. We need to utilise our renewables – hydro, solar, wind, especially for off grid communities. “We need to think and act strategically, with an eye to the future. The Gulf producers are all doing that. We need to stop the shame of being both a major producer of crude oil and a major importer of refined products. We should be a hub for the West African region at least.” Omorogbe, also indicated that the conversation on sustainable energy would be on for as long as climate change issues remain, adding, “what we are presently doing isn’t sustainable.” She insisted that: “Growing energy use for all in Nigeria and reducing the burden on the environment has to be our goal. Energy planning is vital for this to be a reality. Using technology strategically is also important but then we do not do research.”

World Energy Day: Why Nigeria must improve access to power

Tuesday, October 22,2019 was World Energy Day (WED). It is a day set aside to raise awareness on energy-related issues worldwide. Although this energy awareness day was said to be first proclaimed on July 22, 2012, at the World Energy Forum, it remains highly relevant, especially in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa where access to electricity is abysmally low. Official power sector records have it that Nigeria’s available generation capacity is 7,600 megawatts (MW), its transmission capacity is 8,100MW and the distribution networks can absorb 5,500MW. However, the estimated demand for energy is about 19,000MW.At the distribution level, there is a huge difference of 13,500MW in terms of what electricity consumers require and what may be available to supply them. ADVERTISEMENT HOW OVER 5000 NIGERIA MEN HAVE PERMANENTLY OVERCOME TERRIBLE BEDROOM PERFORMANCE DUE TO THIS RECENT BRILLIANT DISCOVERY BY MEDICAL CONSULTANTS Worst still, several factors combine to hinder the realisation of this 5,500MW actual power supply capacity as the average power supply nationwide on daily basis has not exceeded 4,000MW in the last six months. The WED calls to mind the need to plan energy access and strategies to improve the Nigerian power sector. It is estimated that about 45 per cent of Nigerians are still not connected to grid electricity, while majority of those who are connected do not have stable electricity. Hence there is over-reliance on the use of fossil fuel generators in major cities, towns and rural settlements. Unfortunately, this comes at a high cost because while Nigeria is an oil producing state, it imports its petroleum products. Reports by the Advisory Power Team at the Office of the Vice President show that between July and September, 2019, low gas supply, poor transmission and distribution networks and water level (for the hydropower plants) hindered the delivery of at least 12,039MW to households, industries and for other uses. In July, the grid inadequacies constrained 3,872MW of energy, 4,020MW was cut off in August, and that rose to 4,147MW by September. The implication of this according to the report is the further loss of revenue in the power sector. Averagely, that quantum of energy should be sold for N177.1bn during the three-month period. Worried over this, experts of the Nigerian Association of Energy Economics (NAEE) in commemoration of WED analysed how this poor electricity supply conundrum retards economic growth of Nigeria. Working under the theme: “Energy Sustainability in Africa: Unlocking the Energy and Climate Change Equation”, NAEE called for energy planning for Nigeria. Although the Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) plans for energy production and energy mix and has launched a 2050 Energy Calculator, Daily Trust reports that the lack of interagency cooperation for energy-related is hampering the seamless implementation of this planning. NAEE is an affiliate of the International Association for Energy Economics (IAEE) that operates across over 70 countries. President of NAEE, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, said the WED was a platform for NAEE members to engage with Nigerians and policy makers on how to harness the vast energy potentials of the country. Prof. Omorogbe said NAEE was focused on ensuring that relevant stakeholders got energy to everyone in the urban, industrial and rural areas. She said, “People in Nigeria don’t realise that practically every development issue can be traced to a lack of modem energy. You can’t get good teachers into village schools if these villages have no electricity or modern water systems driven by energy.” Omorogbe further noted that Nigeria was using little or no modern energy for the use, whether fossil fuels, solar, or wind. However, the poor rural dwellers are thriving on biomass and cutting down trees for their energy and thereby depleting carbon sinks. She advocated for the need to utilise “our renewables”: hydro, solar, wind, especially for off grid communities to drive the sustainable energy discourse. She added that, “Energy planning is vital for this to be a reality. Using technology strategically is also important but then we do not do research.”