In the world over, emphasis has shifted from the use of hydro and fossil-powered electricity generation to renewable energy such as solar source. In Nigeria, less than 40% of the country is connected to the national electric grid and less than 60% of the energy demand by this group is generated and distributed. In era of development, electricity generation, transmission and distribution are three stages of delivering electricity to consumers. The delivery of electricity to consumers in Nigeria has multidimensional problems. This paper focused on capacity of electricity generation in Nigeria and the major factors affecting electricity generation, transmission and distribution in the country. The factors are non-diversification of sources of energy used in electricity generation, poor maintenance culture, electrical power transmission line losses due to long distance between generating stations and load centers, etc. Restructuring the Nigerian radial interconnected electricity generation station grid system which has National Control Centre at Oshogbo and replace it with a regional interconnected grid system in order to reduce transmission line losses and improve reliability of the Nigerian grid system among others was recommended.
In 2016, Nigeria is a country with an estimated population of 190 Million people, 78% of which are between the ages of 18 to 50 years. Only about 45% of the population has access to electricity supply. The national grid is limited in reach. There is limited extension of the grid to most communities, and it would take decades to reach most areas in Nigeria especially Enugu State. This leaves a majority of Nigerians who live in most communities without access to electricity. Even the available electricity capacity is insufficient to meet existing power needs of the less than 45% who have access to the national grid. Therefore, it has become a matter of necessity for exploitation and establishment of other energy resources to complement and supplement the limited power generation and supply available in Nigeria. Fortunately, Nigeria is endowed with abundant natural resources of renewable energy, like the sun, wind, hydros, biomass (waste), etc. As an alternative energy, renewable energy will be a practical alternative to supplementing electricity supply in Nigeria. It can be cost-effective in areas far-flung from the national grid, and, simply put, will impact Nigeria's electricity bottom line.
Despite the abundance of natural resources in Nigeria, there were no nationally acceptable renewable energy or energy efficiency policies to drive the renewable energy sector of the economy. Some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) before now have in one way or the other developed documents that enabled them to pursue ventures in renewable energy. But furtherance to the Federal Government's reform act to diversify Nigeria's energy mix and provide practical, affordable and realistic access to electricity to all Nigerians, the inter-ministerial committee of stakeholder MDAs was constituted and mandated to come up with a national renewable energy and energy efficiency policy that would attract investment into the electricity sector. After several months of stakeholder meetings, workshops, collation of various documents, etc., by the inter-ministerial committee and the eventual development and submission of the National Policy on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency to the Federal Executive Council, Nigeria has the distinguished pleasure of presiding over the first ever National Policy on Renewable Energy and Energy efficiency, developed in line with objectives of the National Energy Policy, Rural Electrification Strategy and Plan, Millennium Development Goals and the National Economic and Development strategy. The National Policy is established to remove the key barriers that put renewable energy and energy efficiency at economic, regulatory or institutional disadvantages relative to other forms of energy in Nigeria. We commend this policy to the Federal Executive Council for consideration and scrutiny. With the eventual passage of the policy, Nigeria will be set to provide a conducive political environment that will attract investments in the renewable energy and energy efficiency arena. A monitoring unit will be set up to oversee the immediate implementations of the recommendations of the policy in the electricity supply industry, which will enhance and leapfrog power projects across the nation.
The antecedent problems associated with the present energy supply in the world, most especially the oil glut and its rising cost; environmental problems and disasters from thermal and nuclear power stations, geometrical increase in demand due to industrialization and population growth of which Nigeria is a constituent part. The Energy-induced environmental degradation is already prevalent in the country. This is characterized by deforestation as a result of falling of trees for fuel wood and charcoal production, air pollution in urban areas arising from vehicular emission and burning of traditional fuel for traditional cooking in household, noise pollution from use of small generators to provide electricity due to inadequate supply from the national grid, land and water pollution from oil spillage in the oil producing communities.
This has led Nigeria and indeed the world to look for alternative power supply such as solar energy among others. Unfortunately, utilization and development of solar energy is rising in other parts of the world but encountered with low pace of development and utilization in Nigeria. This low pace of development is due to the associated problems such as purchasing power, technology of installation and fabrications, awareness, governmental policy and politics, culture, Nigerian factor, among many other variables in Nigeria.
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