The vigor (or is it passion?) with which the present administration under President Goodluck Jonathan is pursuing the power reform is laudable.
This government's determination in the power reform shows that nothing would be allowed to stand on the way of the reform. Otherwise, this would be viewed as another government effort in futility as it was with past governments in Nigeria.
According to the Minister of Power, Mr. Bart Nnaji, it is Nigeria’s economic and strategic interest to target and generate 10,000 MW of electricity in a couple of years from now, from the current 3,500MW to 4,500MW.
This has become necessary since the power currently generated in Nigeria is inadequate and unstable, forcing a large portion of industries, businesses and homes to rely on diesel and petrol (PMS) generators, which are expensive and noisy pollutants, as primary or back-up sources of electricity.
In the face of all these difficulties and short supply of power, there are nine electricity generating stations and many more in the pipeline to be commissioned soon. Of these, three are hydro-based and six thermal-based with a total installed capacity of 6,000MW.
According to the power minister, 40 per cent of this energy is to come from hydro while 60 per cent from thermal stations. But they are not at full capacity.
Nnaji recently blamed shortage of gas supply, system failures and lack of adequate maintenance as the many reasons for the short falls.
The plan of government was to generate electricity using gas powered thermal stations which is non-renewable source and the fear is that this would result in the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs); meanwhile the presence of these gases in the atmosphere causes global warming which has the potential to affect all natural and human systems and pose a threat to human development and survival.
According to Mr. Reginald Odiah, Chairman, Infrastructure Committee of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), this shortfall in power production and supply over the years is further exacerbated by high distribution losses due to inefficient distribution system. This is in addition to consumption wastages in public, private sector facilities and wastages due to domestic usages.
It is in the midst of these crises in the energy sector in Nigeria that the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said that it has decided to partner with the Nigerian government, through the Energy Commission, the Ministry of Power and the Federal Ministry of Environment to promote energy efficiency and management through the support of Global Environment Facility (GEF).
The National Project Coordinator of UNDP GEF, Energy Efficiency Programme, Mr. Etiosa Uyigue, said last week in Lagos that the overall objective of the GEF-UNDP EEP is to promote energy efficiency and management for a series of end-use appliances in public and private facilities as well as residential buildings in Nigeria.
The UNDP, according to him would help Nigeria to achieve high level of energy efficiency in her industrial development projects across the country as obtained in other industrialised nations. This, he said would involve the introduction of appropriate energy efficiency and management policies and measures (such as standard and labels) and demand-side management programmes.
‘Another objective is to strengthen the regulatory and institutional framework, develop monitoring and enforcement mechanisms, provide training to appliance and equipment professionals and launch a public outreach campaign to promote energy efficiency and management in Nigeria,’ he said.
The UNDP pointed out that energy efficiency and management entail using energy in such a manner that would minimise the amount of energy needed to provide certain services. It also means improvement in practices and products that reduce energy necessary to provide services. For instance, to light a room with an incandescent light bulb of 60 watt for one hour requires 60 watts per hour while a compact fluorescent light bulb would provide the same or better light at 11 watt per hour.
This means that 49 watts (82 per cent) is saved for each hour the light is turned on.
According to Odiah, who is also the Managing Director/Chief Executive of Benneth Industries Limited, it then means that energy efficient appliance would help to reduce the energy necessary to provide services like lighting, cooling, heating, manufacturing, cooking, transport, entertainment, among other things. Hence, energy efficiency products help to do more work with less energy.
‘Therefore, it then means that if the nation’s energy generation, distribution and consumption is efficiently harnessed we may not after all need the 10,000MW which government is clamoring for,’ he said.
It is in the light of this that UNDP said that Nigeria needs Energy Audit Agency. The Agency according to UNDP should be part of the total reform processes of the power sector.
The Agency would, among other things, identify areas of energy wastages and minimise it for the overall efficiency of industries, public institutions and domestic usages of energy.
‘An energy audit would help to conserve energy and subsequently help to manage financial resources in industries and households,’ UNDP said.
The proposed Energy Audit, UNDP explained would help Nigeria to save and maximise her energy requirement. ‘Like similar agencies in developed countries, the Energy Audit Agency can help install energy sensors in public buildings in Nigeria that regulate energy usages and automatically switches off power supplies when there are no human movement in such buildings at night time,’ it said.
When operational the agency is also expected to study and analyse energy flows in the country while minimising the energy inputs without reducing the quality of other energy services in the country. It would improve the generation, distribution and consumption of power in all facilities in public and private sector.
The UNDP said it would also, among other things, award ‘certificate of audit’ to companies and facilities that pass such audit and would recommend tax incentives to such companies as part of encouraging energy efficiency.