By Oke Peter
A Russian State Nuclear Energy Corporation, Rosatom, has shared its best practices with participants of the annual Powering Africa Nigeria summit held in Abuja, Nigeria.
The event, attended by high profile government officials from across the continents as well as representatives from global energy companies and organizations.
During a panel discussion on the optimum future energy mix for Nigeria, experts from across the globe discussed various options to close the country’s current power deficit. Recent estimates from the International Energy Agency (IEA) indicates that more than 115 million people in Nigeria still rely on traditional biomass and waste as their main sources of energy. With the country currently spending roughly USD 14 Billion on off grid diesel generation, it is abundantly clear that the country needs to diversify its mix.
Discussing further, Rosatom Regional Vice-President of Sub-Saharan Africa, Viktor Polikarpov, noted that in order for Nigeria to achieve a balanced energy mix, the country should consider all available sustainable sources of energy. Solar, wind, hydro and nuclear power to complement and reinforce each other to form a green square, which would essentially become the base for the world’s future carbon-free energy mix.
“One needs to consider the so-called energy trilemma when planning an energy mix, this entails balancing economics, security of supply and environmental impact. Only nuclear energy is capable of ticking all three boxes and is able to balance any energy mix. In order to combat the current energy challenge faced by Nigeria, the region needs access to affordable and clean baseload power,” said Polikarpov.
As far as security of supply goes, nuclear is unrivalled. New generation NPP’s are able to achieve net capacity factors of well over 90 per cent, whereas renewables for instance are only able to achieve less than half of that. The net capacity factor is essentially the ratio of a power plants’ actual output over a period of time, when compared to its potential output if it were possible for it to operate at full nameplate capacity continuously over the same period of time.
Polikarpov stated further that investing in nuclear projects stimulates national and regional cash flows toward the budget that often surpass direct investments by a significant margin. Construction of NPP’s also create demand for thousands of locally sourced skilled labour, such as; welders, pipefitters, masons, carpenters, millwrights, sheet metal workers, electricians, ironworkers, heavy equipment operators and insulators, as well as engineers, project managers and construction supervisors.
“Nuclear energy is a clean, sustainable and affordable energy source that has the potential to positively transform not only the Nigerian energy sector but also its economy,” Polikarpov concluded.