Nigeria requires over 10,000 gigawatts (Gw) of electricity to achieve energy sufficiency and improve its economy, experts have said.
The experts included the former Executive Director, National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), Dr Albert Okorogu and the Chairman, Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Nigeria Council, Dr. Saka Matemilola.
They said the 10,000Gw of electricity was achievable if thev Federal Government could provide infrastructure, adding that developed economies such as Japan, United States, China, and others put adequate infrastructure in place before they could deliver huge quantum of electricity.
Okorogu said infrastructure was the major problem of the electricity sector, adding that efforts made to solve the problem have yielded little or no results. He said pipeline needed for the evacuation of gas from producers to turbines should be adequate and counter-proof to forestall attacks.
He said inability of the power firms to access gas for operation has resulted in poor generation and supply of electricity. He noted that the Federal Government established NIPP to enable power plants access gas in the Niger Delta, adding that yet shortage of gas still remained.
Okorogu decried the losses suffered by power generation companies (GenCos) and gas firms from blowing of pipelines and other oil and gas facilities by militants.
The issue, he said, is having cost implications on the two operators as well as the entire sector.
According to him, a pragmatic approach must be adopted by the Federal Government and stakeholders to solve the problem of infrastructure in the sector. “There is need for the government to provide a strong template that would be used to provide solution to infrastructure problem in the energy sector. Once the template is enduring and guided by rules and regulations, whoever breaks the rules would face the consequence,” he added.
Also, Matemilola said Nigeria can generate 10,000Gw of electricity if it is ready to do it. He said the country must provide a conducive environment for operators in order to galvanise investments in the sector.
He said once the right environment is in place in the sector, investors would be able to invest in key infrastructural facilities such as pipelines, turbines and others. “Nigeria can achieve 10,000Gw of electricity if it wants to do it. It’s a modest target and it is achievable considering the vast human and material resources in the country. What we need to do is to put in place all the things that we need to do to achieve the goal. Private investors have the capacity to create investments and the government must not hesitate to invite them in order to grow the sector,” he added.
He said companies that have left Nigeria for neighbouring countries such as Ghana, Ivory Coast and others, to seek comparative advantage would come back home when electricity improves, noting that a lot of companies have folded up due to irregular supply of power. He stressed that such companies can be revived when generation picks up. The multiplier effects are many because many people would get jobs to do, he added.