In view of the high energy poverty in the country, stakeholders in the energy sector have stressed the need to deploy innovative solutions to ensure an inclusive, energised Nigeria.
They spoke at the 2023 World Energy Day Celebration organised by the Nigerian Association of Energy Economics on Thursday in Abuja.
Available data show that Nigeria has the world’s largest energy access deficit, with over 90 million people lacking access to electricity.
Reputed to have one of the worst performing national grids in Africa, the country is the largest importer of petrol and diesel
generators in sub-Saharan Africa, accounting for three million out of 6.5 million generators used in sub-Saharan Africa and individuals and businesses spend $22 billion annually to fuel these generators. The country is also heavily reliant on fossil fuels to power vehicles.
The event, which the PTDF sponsored, has as its theme ” Energising Nigeria’s Future: Bridging Energy Aspirations and Realities.
The stakeholders who acknowledged the government’s efforts targeted towards energy transition said a lot more still needed to be done.
While welcoming participants, Prof Yinka Omorogbe, President of the Nigeria Association of Energy Economics, reiterated the need for energised Nigerian youths.
According to her, the majority of Nigeria’s population is youth. Therefore, the youth need to be included to help drive the nation’s economy.
Omorogbe said an excellent energy mix was essential if we were talking about energising the whole of Nigeria.
She said that based on the event’s theme, you could not aspire and succeed unless you dealt with present-day realities.
”And the present-day reality is that half of Nigeria does not have any electricity at all.
”We have a poor system when it comes to downstream products. We are a significant producer and a major downstream importer.
”If you now go into clean cooking, you will find that only about 20 per cent of Nigeria is utilising clean cooking fuel,” she said.
According to the President, what this means is that there is a significant deficit, but excitingly, if you are a business person, there are great opportunities for you.
She further said as government officials, it was an opportunity to make Nigeria great by creating an enabling environment for Nigeria in all these areas.
She said there is a lot of room, and more can be done to make Nigeria a favourable investment climate and push CNG and LPG.
”A lot is being done already, but a lot more needs to be done, especially once we realise that time is no longer on our side with all the different initiatives there are.
”Also, considering that we are a growing nation, the problem will only worsen if we do not work on our challenges.”
Omorogbe then acknowledged the Niger Delta Power Company, saying it is their donation that has sustained this conference over the years.
Also speaking, the executive secretary of the PTDF, Ahmed Aminu, said this year’s theme spoke directly to the call of our shared global challenges and opportunities.
”I am particularly enthusiastic about this conference’s role in shaping the future of energy and transportation.
”This event engenders a dynamic and insightful dialogue among industry players, policymakers, and entrepreneurs.
”It is a collaborative platform to chart a new and sustainable course for business practices in the energy sector.
”This topic is timely considering the current economic and environmental challenges we face; it will also flash a torchlight on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)as a sustainable alternative for our country, ” Aminu said.
According to the executive secretary,
CNG holds the potential to revolutionise not just the transportation sector but the way we think and utilise our energy resources.
He then expressed PTDF’s commitment to driving this change primarily through established human capacity and scholarship programmes by empowering young Nigerians through education in renewable energy disciplines.
Presenting a keynote, Doosughun Takur, Director of Programmes, Clean Tech Hub Nigeria, also emphasised the importance of moving away from fossil fuels.
Taker, who expressed concerns on subsidy removal, said its removal was a way forward for the country to think towards a sustainable plan.
”We need plans to ensure we are not on resources that will run out, and then we will be stranded.
”We need plans, whether in government or in businesses, to create sustainability in our models and processes.
”I am a strong advocate for climate change. So, how will we keep the earth for those coming after us?
”We have to look beyond corruption, grid or money to make the world cleaner and greener for those coming ahead of us, and the only way we can do that is through sustainability,” she said.
According to the director, Nigeria heavily depends on fossil fuels, and transiting from there immediately to solar may be difficult due to the large gap.
She said:”Since we have these natural resources(gas) that are not negatively affecting the environment as fossil fuels, I think we should transition slowly from fossil fuel to gas, and then we can move to renewable energy.