I recently stumbled on a post on naijaloaded.com about what I would do to fix the power problems in Nigeria if I was power minister so I wrote a long post there and decided to post it here too.
As an Electrical Engineer, I understand how the power system works and I know many Nigerians are ignorant. To solve the electric power problem of Nigeria, the government has to make it of paramount importance meaning it should be given utmost priority because if we have constant electricity, many other things we need will automatically fall into place.
There are 3 stages in the process of providing power to consumers – Generation, Transmission and Distribution. In Nigeria , we currently have a generating capacity of about 6500 Megawatts and a transmission capacity of about 6000 MW. On the average, 1MW can provide constant electricity to 1000 homes so our generating capacity is only capable of providing power for 1000×6500 = 6.5 million homes and we haven’t even talked about industries who need very large amounts of power (a company as big as Dangote’s Obajana Cement might need up to 50 MW or more).
Nigeria has a population of about 200 million people and my estimate is 7 people per home so we have approx. 28 million homes so it means we need about 30,000 MW for just houses alone, when you consider companies we need approx. 40,000 megawatts to have constant electricity supply.
1 MW of power costs approx. 1 million dollars to generate depending on the type of power plant, this means the remaining 34,000 MW we need will cost approx. 34 billion Dollars, mehn dtz huge! To achieve this, I believe the government needs to approach private investors and give them juicy offers such as tax reliefs and all.
The best resource in my view to generate electricity in Nigeria is gas because we have a very large reserve of it (188 trillion cubic feet) which makes us 9th position in the list of countries with the largest gas reserves in the world (this should be a major revenue earner but its not but that’s for another day). If we can exploit our gas reserves properly, we should have more than enough to power this country and export. The government has to solve the issue of oil and gas vandalism once and for all too or else all work will be in vain.
The transmission system has to be upgraded and expanded to meet up with the 40,000 MW to be generated thus private investors have to be involved too and the construction should be done simultaneously with that of the power plants.
The distribution system has to be upgraded and expanded too simultaneously with generation and transmission because electric power cannot be stored so if there is no way to evacuate it, the companies will lose and will therefore not be willing to invest. The metering system has to be upgraded, the government should work to provide free or if that’s not feasible, low cost(maybe 5,000 -10,000 Naira) prepaid power meters to all consumers so that the money spent by the companies can be recouped and profit made.
In conclusion I think the governement should get technocrats in the power field and pay them to develop a comprehensive roadmap for the power industry in Nigeria which should have the Generation, Transmission and Distribution sectors developed simultaneously and the time it will take to achieve the goal and then work tirelessly to achieve the goal within the time frame set.
They also need to get Investors and convince them that Nigeria is a good place to invest in power using the roadmap as proof of seriousness. I also think that Nigerians should be allowed to invest in those companies and at least 50% of the company’s Nigerian arm should be Nigerian owned to prevent Nigerians from been cheated. I know that it will take some time but if these policies are implemented, I believe Nigeria can have constant electricity supply by 2022.
I’m just a fresh graduate sha so what do I know, I plan to write a more comprehensive post about this topic, stay tuned.