By Oke Peter
The Nigerian Association of Energy Economics (NAEE) said the Nigerian government will need estimated 1.6 billion dollars to complete critical infrastructure in generation, transmission and distribution of power between 2017 and 2020.
The President of the association, Professor Wumi Iledare disclosed this in Abuja to mark the 2017 World Energy Day with the Theme “Green Energy Solution for Sustainable Development
Iledare was represented by a former president of the association, Professor Adeola Adenikinju.
”It has been estimated that between 2017 and 2020, Nigeria government will need over 1.6 billion dollars to develop or complete critical infrastructure in generation, transmission and distribution of power and another 14 billion dollars to start and complete critical projects in the oil and gas sectors.
“However, the good thing is that with the right incentives and policies, implementation of pro-market policies, the private sector can take a large chunk of these investments off the government.
“The issue of credibility and seriousness of government is very important. Perhaps also, is the political will to let go some decrepit downstream, assets,” he added.
He added that the nation’s continual use of generating sets for electricity was an aberration adding that Nigerian economy would not grow with dependence on generators to power industries, offices and homes.
According to him, economies with serious desires for industrialisation do not rely on fuel generators but reliable and cost effective energy sources and systems.
He said that most countries had began to transit from fossil based energy generation to clean energy sources, while Nigeria remained fixated on fuel generating sets.
This, he said remained expensive, unhealthy to the environment and people.
He noted that global reliance on energy from fossil fuel sources was waning and Nigeria should take advantage of that to drive investments to hydro, solar, and other clean energy sources.
”It is an option but it is not the best, and as a country, we should look at the best options and I don’t think fuel generators are what we should consider.
”Nearly 15 years after electricity sector reforms began, and in spite of the various institutional changes, regulatory and policy reforms that have taken place, electricity sector remains seriously challenged in Nigeria.
”The entire segments of the value chain are bedeviled with one problem or the other. Both the formal and the informal sectors continue to run on private generators, with attendant avoidable huge economic and non-economic costs,” he said.
Iledare explained that several countries as a result of the productivity growth impact of energy access expansion had moved significant number of their people even in rural and remote areas out of poverty.
”China is a good example we can borrow from.
”The energy investment-GDP ratio is too low and inefficiently allocated to support the energy infrastructure that the country requires to drive sustained economic growth.
”Hence, the fall back solution that we have adopted cannot even be ranked as second best solution, because it is totally unacceptable and incompatible with global energy transition.
”The recourse by energy consumers in the industrial, commercial and residential sector to fossil fuel fired private generators, many of which are old, energy inefficient and major sources of noise and air pollution must be phased out in timely manner.
”We should also no longer tolerate the significant health risks that the use of traditional biomass in the residential and commercial sectors for energy services like cooking, lighting, water heating, impose primarily on our women,’’ he said
He stated that NAEE was not unaware of the present economic and resource constraints the federal government had to contend with, but that a scale of preferences and priorities must be set and choices made.
He said the association would advise that in prioritising government investments, access to adequate, reliable, and affordable modern energy should rank as top priority.