22 October 2012, Sweetcrude, Enugu – The Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers-a division of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, have concluded their Annual General Meeting and International Conference which analysed the country’s energy demand projections and future power supply strategy.
The ‘lead paper’ by Prof. O.C Iloeje, a former director with the Energy Commission of Nigeriaand a don in the Mechanical Engineering Department, University of Nigeria,Nsukka, was titled: ‘Nigeria’s Energy Demand and Power Supply strategy, now and into the future.’
Professor Iloeje provided detailed data on the National Energy background (energy resource availability), which revealed Nigeria’s variety of energy resources; energy demand projections between year 2000 and 2030, projecting how demand would likely go within the period indicated and identifying various sectors of the society and their possible energy demand rates; then, the Power supply strategy between 2005 and 2030.
Prof. Iloeje summed up his presentation by pointing out strongly that national energy security “requires not just a dependable source of energy supply for the nation’s socio-economic activities, but also a variety of such sources. He maintained that, “by the grace of God, Nigeria does not have the problem of energy resource availability, at least, for some long term future”, pointing out that the problem is that of developing an optical and functional energy supply mix and the infrastructure for its delivery.”
He noted that, “the country is aware of this. It is a cardinal objective of the National Energy policy. The problem is doing it!”
The University don and energy expert expressed fears at the current reliance predominantly on oil and gas and hydro for grid Power generation, adding that “the neglet of coal is criminal and the slow development of renewables is a costly error.”
Iloeje, while praising other studies presented in the Seminar for analysis, as capable of providing the country with good and quantitative ideas of energy and fuel types needed to support its economy , recommended public-private partnership as a model for some of the Energy Industries.
The conference, which was tagged ‘Coal City 2012’, was specially organised to mark the Institution’s silver jubilee (25th anniversary), with the main theme as ‘Appropriate Energy mix for sustainable National Development’.
Gathered together for the event, which lasted between 17th and 19th October, 2012, were mostly Mechnical Engineers, including the Executive Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, who is a mechanical engineer himself, as well as other engineers and industry watchers in diaspora, who were mostly attracted by the theme of the summit, which centred on ‘energy’ as an on-going burning national question.
Over 22 well researched papers on the various aspects of the Nigerian Energy situation were also presented at the seminar.
Other prominent papers that were presented, included: Analysis of Alternative Coal-based Power Generation In Nigeria, by Dr. A.J Ujam, et al; Bio-Refinery: Pathway to Renewable Energy Development in Nigeria; by A.O Akinola; Electricity by Bio-Mass : an option for Nigerian Rural Areas, by E.U Obiajulu; Effective Utilization of small scale municipal solid waste for Power generation, by A.J Ujam, et al; Impact of Energy and Economy in Nigeria, by G.E Okpanachi et al; Viability of Wind Energy for Power Generation in Nigeria, by Engr. Sebastine Omeh; Energy mix for sustainable Economic Development, by A.I Musa; Maintenance Practice of Refining and Petro-Chemicals Plants and Equipments: Towards Effective Facilities Management in Nigeria, by D. Abdulsalam, among others.
Other commentators on national issues, including members of the media wished that these far reaching development option are acted upon speedily by government, not swept under the carpet, in the usual tradition of ‘ motion without movement’ for which Nigeria is well known.