Africa’s energy and power sector has continued to evolve over the years and is currently experiencing significant growth. In February 2023, the World Bank signed an agreement with four West and Central African nations to fund renewable energy projects. The agreement worth $311 million will finance 106 megawatts (MW) of solar power generation capacity with battery energy and storage systems, as well as 41 megawatts expansion of hydroelectric capacity for Sierra Leone, Liberia, Togo, and Chad; supporting electricity distribution and transmission interventions.
In Nigeria, the energy sector requires just as much investment to efficiently service the needs of its citizens; investments focused on renewable energy solutions. According to the Federal Minister of Power, Engr. Abubakar D. Aliyu, Nigeria presently supplies 8,000MW of electricity, comprising 5,000MW on-grid and above 3,000MW of industrial capacity off-grid. But how has this translated to progress for the country’s ecosystem?
In over 6 years, subsidies and interventions in the energy sector apart from the current $2.7 billion loan sits at about ₦1.3 trillion. Yet, policy inconsistency, weak regulations, lack of transparency, poor data, metering challenges, and other prevailing realities have diminished the efficiency of these investments. Moreover, the vulnerability of Nigeria’s power infrastructure is a result of two distinct factors.
Firstly, the power sector’s centralized model of operation involves generating power closer to locations that would enable connection to the distribution network. This has caused an imbalance as most power generation plants in Nigeria are situated close to oil-producing states because of the presence of natural gas, leaving other communities underserved.
Secondly, the right data and technology have not been fully leveraged for generation, transmission, and distribution. Experts believe that the right application of technology will help Nigeria’s power sector by reducing operational and maintenance costs, improving power plant and network efficiency, mitigating unplanned outages, and ensuring significant extension in the operational lifetime of assets.
Given these prevailing realities, there is an urgent need for transformational growth in the energy sector and the improvement in available equipment and new technologies.
Introducing renewables into Nigeria’s energy mix
In 2020, Nigeria was ranked 129th out of 133 countries in terms of the complexity and diversity of exports. The Nigerian economy has for decades been largely dependent on oil as its main source of revenue. According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in the second quarter of 2022, Nigeria’s exports were dominated by crude oil which accounted for 80 percent of total exports. Despite this, its contribution to GDP was at a minuscule 6.33 percent.
This worrying statistic highlights the importance of Nigeria significantly reducing its dependence on crude oil, especially in the face of stronger calls for global energy transition which was agreed upon with the view to drastically reduce the production and usage of fossil fuels.
In the last few years, we have seen an increasing clamor for the adoption of renewable energy into Nigeria’s energy mix. Although lauded as rich in oil resources, what largely goes unappreciated is Nigeria’s large endowment of hydro and solar resources. It is imperative that we explore distributed and localized renewable solutions as urgent alternatives.
Renewable energy is more cost-effective in the long run, as well as more reliable and sustainable. It will enable millions of people to have affordable and consistent access to electricity; transformative access that will serve as a complement to the conventional power supply. Above all, renewable energy will power sustainable economic growth whilst achieving global climate and sustainable development objectives.
Addressing Nigeria’s Energy Transition Needs with Middle East Energy 2023
Global and local dialogue is key for the achievement of a robust, timely, just, and inclusive energy transition. At the heart of this will be Middle East Energy Dubai 2023 which is the leading energy industry event in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region. Enjoying a 45-year legacy, Middle East Energy will power key discussions, partnerships, and collaborations by bringing together important decision-makers across the global energy ecosystem.
Scheduled from March 7 to 9 2023 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, the event provides a viable platform to advance technological innovation and the actualization of renewable hybrid solutions for Nigeria and Africa. With 940 exhibiting companies representing 57 countries and an expected 25,000 global audience, Middle East Energy is set to connect the global energy community by offering an exceptional networking and business hub for key parties in the energy ecosystem.
Under the theme “Guiding the region through the energy transition”, the 48th edition will be focused on 5 distinct product sectors that are leading the way in the energy transition: Smart Solutions, Renewable & Clean Energy, Backup Generators & Critical Power, Transmission & Distribution, and Energy Consumption & Management.
Middle East Energy will also feature conferences and content arenas to provide a platform for knowledge sharing, support relationship building, and uncover solutions to some of the most pressing challenges posed by the energy transition. These include a CEO roundtable, a Technical Seminar, and the Intersolar Conference which will bring together global policymakers, utilities, developers, financiers, and technology leaders across three days to create the blueprint for a successful energy transition across the Middle East and Africa.
Furthermore, leading the conversation on opportunities and challenges that lie within Nigeria’s energy transition will be the Strategic Conference, a high-level forum that will discuss the unique opportunity presented to Nigeria to merge economic development and climate action priorities.
There will be a panel session titled “Perspectives from Nigeria on the Energy Transition” which will feature speakers such as Engr. Abubakar Ali-Dapshima, Director, Renewable & Rural Power Access Department, Federal Ministry of Power; Ahmad Salihijo, CEO, Rural Electrification Agency of Nigeria; Olakunle Williams, Chief Executive Officer, Tetracore Group; Sule Abdulaziz, Chairman of the Executive Board, West African Power Pool and the Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria; and Sowunmi Olabode, Senior Legislative Aid to the Senate President, National Assembly of Nigeria. In addition to this, the Strategic Conference will also address energy transition goals across other African countries including Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Zambia, etc.
Middle East Energy will also feature strategic conferences and content arenas to provide a platform for knowledge sharing, support relationship building, and uncover solutions to some of the most pressing challenges posed by the energy transition. These include a CEO roundtable, a Technical Seminar, and the Intersolar Conference which will bring together global policymakers, utilities, developers, financiers, and technology leaders across three days to create the blueprint for a successful energy transition across the Middle East and Africa.
Middle East Energy is supported by numerous trade associations, governmental agencies, and industry partners such as Alfanar as the Diamond sponsor; Baudouin and Riyadh Cables Group as Platinum sponsors; Ducab, LTC Group, Bahra Electric, and Perkins as Gold sponsors; Riello UPS and Stamford AvK as Silver sponsors; and Eaton as Technology Partner.
To find out more about Middle East Energy, please click the following link: www.middleeast-energy.com
To register for the event, please click on the following link, https://middleeast-energy.me/3XEoCQz