01 March 2013 – Nigerians are currently generating over 6,000 Mega Watts of electricity through the use of generators in their homes, corporate offices and industrial places, far more than what the Federal Government is producing through the power stations across the country, says Professor Rahaman Bello, Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, UNILAG.
“An estimated 6000 MW is generated via individual and corporate outfits to meet their minimum demands for electricity,” Bello disclosed yesterday, at the Nigerian Institute of Management, NIM, inaugural ‘Nigeria: Arise and Shine’ annual lecture.
He further stated that Nigeria is far behind its 2013 target of 16,000 MW of power generation, blaming it on over-reliance on oil, gas and hydro resources in power generation, at the detriment of other useful resources such as coal, new and renewable energy sources among others.
According to him, in year 2000, Nigeria’s power generating capacity was as low as 1,500MW and this was due mainly to lack of investment in maintenance and expansion programs on existing power plants.
“With efforts on increasing power generating capacity, there has been reasonable sectoral improvement as generation capacity increased to 5,482 MW in 2010. While actual daily generation fluctuated between 2,000 MW – 3,700 MW due to inadequate gas supply.
“Of this power supply, gas-fired plants contributed about 74 per cent of the available power. The new power plants significantly added to available generation capacity. These plants are compact and flexible in operation with better control and monitoring devices.
“It is important to mention that the figures highlighted above relate to power generation by Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN and other identified associates contributing to the grid. A considerable proportion of electricity is generated by individuals and corporate bodies to compliment the inefficient services offered by the PHCN.”
He said unless Nigeria diversify and expand its power supply mix to include coal, solar, renewable energy and others new energy sources, it will find it difficult to achieve its target of 35,000MW by 2020.
According to him, considering Nigeria’s reliance on gas for the thermal stations which is currently estimated at about 74 per cent, the frequent gas supply disruptions have been primarily responsible for power load shedding across the country.
Bello also advocated the decentralization of Nigeria’s power system, allowing power plants in certain states to serve the power needs of such states, also, with the states responsible for the management and development of such stations.
Also speaking, Michael Olawale-Cole, President and Chairman of Council, NIM, said that once the issue of power generation and distribution is resolved, the nation’s firm match to greatness will be guaranteed.
According to him, it is a common knowledge that Nigeria has been backward in the areas of successful start-up businesses, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and industrialization generally which are the core catalysts for real national development due to poor power generation.
*Michael Eboh, Vanguard