*By Uche C. Isiugo, Ph.D. and Demola Akinwale, ACA
Nigeria is undoubtedly an energy-resource-rich nation endowed with huge oil & gas deposits, ranking as the 11th largest crude oil reserves and 10th largest natural gas reserves of any country in the world, as of 2019. What seems to be less acclaimed are Nigeria’s vast endowments with solar and hydro power sources available for electricity generation. Although electricity is mainly generated from mostly thermal and hydro power sources, with gas accounting for about 80% of power generation, the nation’s large energy resources remain largely unexploited, leaving Nigeria’s power sector below par compared to some other African countries, Mauritius and Ghana for instance. As of April 2020, Nigeria’s installed capacity stood at 12,522 MW of electric power, with generation at about 4,000 MW of energy, and peak generation at 5,000 MW (less than 40% of installed capacity). About 20% of the generated electricity remains constrained and cannot be transmitted to power stations due to the Joule effect in transformers and power lines in which energy is lost as heat in the conductors. Based on World Bank/IEA data, up to 16% of generated electricity is lost in transmission and distribution losses. This has contributed to low power access, leaving nearly 18 million households without access to grid-connected electricity and a further 9 million households with less than four hours of grid power per day.
Source: World Bank
As of 2018, according to the World Bank, 56.5% of Nigeria’s population had access to electricity, while African countries such as Egypt, South Africa and Ghana had 100%, 86% and 78%, respectively. In 2016, Nigeria ranked 68th position on the list of countries classified in terms of electric energy consumption per capita according to The World Factbook —with a value of 128 kWh—which highlights the lackluster improvement of Nigeria’s power sector.
Source: World Bank