Recently the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said that Nigeria’s power challenge could be significantly addressed if the country could concentrate on energy efficiency. The department maintained that the energy crisis facing the country could be minimised if energy saving cultures were imbibed and adhered to by individuals and corporate organisations.
The National Project Coordinator of the UNDP/Global Environment Facility (GEF) energy efficiency programme, Mr Etiosa Uyigue, who stated this at the opening session of a one-day training for Abuja Hotel Owners’ Forum, explained that using energy saving bulbs also known as compact flourescent lamps (CFLs) and other electrical gadgets were part of such cultures which could save the country huge megawatts of electricity and by extension save resources for other developmental project.
According to Uyigwe, the Nigerian government spends about $1 million to generate one megawatt of electricity, even as he explained that should the country promote energy efficiency policy, it could save up to 38MW to 40MW, and invariably save up to $45million.
While faulting government’s concentration on increasing power generation only, he counseled the nation’s policy makers to concentrate on promoting laws that could enforce energy efficiency. He noted that the country could spend less on generation if it concentrated on efficiency.
“The focus has been on generation, but while generating, you also address efficiency, we are trying to tell the policy makers that you can get more, using less,” he said.
He informed that one of the ways that has been identified by experts to reduce the impacts of energy generation on the fragile environment and at the same time increase access to electricity, was the development of energy efficiency projects and programmes.
In a similar vein, experts have warned that access to steady power supply would continue to elude Nigerians if the federal government did not pay adequate attention to renewable energy sources.
High tariff rate placed on renewable energy products coming into the country, according to experts have stalled the penetration of renewable energy as a source of power to many Nigerians.
Energy expert, Valentine Ozieh, while decrying the high tariff rate, said it was currently put at 25 per cent, at a time when other countries were eliminating tariff and taxes on renewable energy products so that it would be more affordable to members of the public.
Harping on the benefit the nation’s power sector stood to gain if more Nigerians were to embrace the use of renewable energy sources, the expert informed that the Obama administration in the United States has offered to give a $3000 rebate to companies and individual who resort to use renewable energy to power their electrical needs in the country, while in South Africa, individuals or companies who deploy renewable energy enjoy a 48 per cent back-on cost of deployment.
He explained that in spite of the fact that the two countries produce more power than Nigeria and their citizens enjoy more access to electricity, they were still taking advantage of the opportunities in the emerging renewable energy market especially in view of its efficiency and environmental friendliness, while Nigeria, a country in dire need of regular power supply was not adequately encouraging the use of renewable energy sources.
Similarly, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Daouda Troure, has stressed that the fact that about 60 per cent of Nigerians live without access to power was a major factor that has fuelled the increase in poverty in the country despite government’s efforts at poverty eradication.
Athough the Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, has disclosed government’s plans at reducing the population of Nigerians unconnected to electricity with the revival of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) which had been out of operations since 2009 due to the alleged theft of its funds worth about N5.2 billion, among others, there is the need for the administration to consider the submissions of these experts and incorporate them in its way-forward plans for the power sector.