17 July 2013, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – A mining expert, Engr. Sunday Oladipo has advocated the utilization of coal for generation of power for both domestic and industrial use, even as he charged the Federal government to de-emphasize its nuclear power generation efforts in favour of coal-powered plants.
Engineer Oladipo, who is the Head of Department, Mining Engineering, at the Nigerian Institute of Mining and Geosciences, Jos, told our correspondent in an interview that the abundance of coal in many states of the Federation makes it the most efficient source of power for the country.
He noted that, “We have enormous coal deposits in about twenty-two states in the country. There is certainly no reason why all the states that have coal should not have coal-powered power plants to be generate much-needed electricity for their people.”
Oladipo noted that across the world, coal still makes up for about 40 percent of power source, adding that Nigeria is uniquely positioned to reap from the abundant natural resource.
According to him, research has shown that coal remains the most viable source of energy for most developing countries.
“Compared to other sources of power generated, especially nuclear, coal remains an energy-source choice because of the relative cost-effectiveness in production. Also, it takes more time to set up a nuclear plant to produce limited quantity of power, whereas in the presence of coal, setting up and generation is faster and less-intense,” he explained.
Engr. Oladipo noted that prior to the discovery of petroleum, coal remained the most important source of energy for the country, but had since been relegated to almost nothingness, adding that government could surely get better return in power generation if it invests in the production of coal.
He said, “We have abundant coal deposits across many communities in Nigeria. Coal was the number one source of energy in the country for a long time before petroleum became common place.
“There is need for government to re-focus on coal exploration and utilization for energy production, since we already have the structure – though moribund – and the expertise on ground.”
He added that, “Detractors like to talk about the environmental impact of coal exploration and utilization, but there is hardly any activity of man today that does not impact the environment either positively or negatively. What we need effectively gauge is how much of an impact does coal mining and usage have on the environment, and adopt modern technologies to keep it at a minimal.
“In any case, people will surely be better off adapting to impacts from coal use than from a nuclear meltdown,” he added.