As Nigeria inches to match up with the developed economies come 2020, a retired Permanent Secretary with the Federal Ministry of Power, Chief Robert Audu has unequivocally submitted that “coal” which the rest of the developed world have embraced for effective and steady supply of electricity is the only way out for Nigeria.
He therefore urged the Federal Government to explore the great potentials of this critical solid mineral as a way of escaping this erratic power supply.
Audu who was also a delegate at the constitutional conference of the former President Gooluclk Jonathan had in a chat with Blueprint explained that our dream of joining the world’s most developed economics by 2020 cannot be realized with the present level of power generation that is hardly stabilized at 5,000 Megawatts.
According to him, with the current energy mix being dominated by hydro and thermal, it is clear that the prospect of doubling output from
these sources is quite remote while gas which is an expensive source of power has not been flowing to power stations without interruption by economic saboteurs.
He further disclosed that major industrialized nations have energy mix dominated by coal with (USA) (50%) china (80%) South Africa (80%) etc.
Japan, he said has shut down all of its nuclear power plants and adopted coal because of threat of earthquake, arguing that the world has discovered clean method of generating power utilizing coal.
He bemoaned Nigeria situation that is oscillating around 5,000 Megawatts, while South Africa today has attained 88000 Megawatts.
Audu added that a state power company in USA, (Kansas City Power and Light) started planning a coal-fired plant in 2003 and by 2010, it commissioned an approximately 6,700 Megawatts installed capacity.
He suggested that the Federal Government need to set targets and time frame for achieving our goal for power rating of 50,000 Megawatts by 2020 and disclosed that coal power is cheapest.
According to him, 1.68% Federation Account Allocation for solid minerals development be dedicated to coal-to-power scheme for the next six years (including funds already accumulated as seed money) to facilitate attainment of 33,000 Megawatts coal-fired power contribution and an aggregate rating of 50,000 Megawatts by 2020.