The Nigerian Association for Energy Economics (NAEE) said on Wednesday that less than 25 per cent of the nation’s 170 million population have regular access to electricity.
NAEE President, Prof. Wumi Iledare, said this at a news conference to mark the World Energy Day in Abuja.
The theme of the day is “Energy access“.
Iledare, represented by Prof. Adeola Adenikinju, Director, Centre for Petroleum Energy Economics and Law, University of Ibadan, expressed concerns over the state of electricity in the country.
He said in spite of the importance of energy to economic development, a large proportion of Nigerians had no access to modern energy.
He said in spite of the varied renewable and non renewable energy resources, the nation was still faced with serious poverty in energy, adding that it supply was short of the energy demand.
Iledare said that the remaining 75 per cent of the nation’s population was left with little or no electricity, in spite of the connection of 45 per cent of the population to the national grid.
According to him, it is estimated that the nation records 90 per cent deficiency in electricity supply, adding that in off- grid areas where some 50 per cent of Nigerians live, access to electricity is practically zero.
“Even in on-grid areas, power outage is still a recurrent thing and this has continued to pose serious constraints to economic development.“
He said that significant number of rural dwellers in Nigeria did not have access to electricity, with most of them relying on biomass as their primary source of energy.
He explained that many of the rural people who resorted to using fuel wood were unaware of the environmental impacts associated with it.
He said that the consumption of over 50 million tones of fuel wood annually had led to the deforestation of about 350,000 hectares of land annually.
According to him, it is estimated that nearly 3.5 million people die yearly from smoke that comes from traditional fuel.
He stressed the need to intensify effort in generating electricity for the country, if Nigeria would meet its target of generating 20,000 mega watts in 2020.
He explained that Nigeria’s electricity consumption per-capita was put at 150Kwh, while that of Pakistan, a country with a population of 180 million was 450kwh.
“Endemic and systemic corruption, poor maintenance culture, inadequate gas supply, lack of adequate transmission infrastructure, inconsistent in government policies, regulatory and management issues were some challenges bedeviling the energy sector in the country.”
He called on the Federal Government to shift concentration on fossil fuels to green fuel, mostly renewable energy like solar, wind and hydro.
“Great opportunities exist in Nigeria today for a paradigm shift in energy access.
“These include renewable energy in off-grid area, new biofuel opportunities, new energy storage devices, new distribution systems and new energy transport modules for rural homes,“ he said.
He said it was important for the current administration to unlock the potentials inherent in the energy sector.
The World Energy Day is usually marked on October 22 of every year.
The day was first proposed in 2008 by Dr Harold Hyunsuk, the founder of World Energy Forum.
The aim is to send positive signal worldwide by highlighting the importance of choices society makes regarding the impacts of energy polices on production, consumption and the environment.
It is also a day where stakeholders in the energy sector congregate to highlight and discuss policy options to address energy challenges.