Nigeria’s electricity reform which officially started in 2005 with the enactment of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) is deeply fixated on improving the demand and supply of on-grid electricity supplies but less interested in the off grid end of the market mix, president of the Sustainable Energy Practitioners Association of Nigeria (SEPAN), Dr. Magnus Onuoha, has said.
Speaking at the 2017 edition of the Nigeria Alternative Energy Expo (NAEE) in Abuja, Onuoha, explained that the reform exercise has shown very little interest in the development of off grid power which he said was the best alternative to reaching over 70 per cent of Nigeria’s rural population currently without electricity.
“Nigeria’s roadmap to power sector reforms focused much on the development of on the grid electricity and the sector reform only extend the national grid to rural areas close to main urban areas, thus leaving the rural areas which constitute over 70 per cent of the population without electricity,” said Onuoha, in his remarks at the opening session of the NAEE.
He also claimed there were many entrenched interests that have kept the country from exploring solar and other efficient renewable energy options as alternative power supply sources.
According to him: “Electricity in this country is increasingly produced by diesel powered generators, and they are very expensive but lucrative business for the well-connected moguls that have supply contracts. It is possible that it is this same entrenched interest that also failed to accommodate renewable and energy efficient sources in Nigeria’s Economic Recovery Plan.”
Insisting that Morocco was amongst countries in the world that trade in and export renewable energy, Onuoha, stated that there was no reason why Nigeria should not explore and exploit her solar power potentials since she was in the equator.
He said up to 5000 megawatts (MW) of solar electricity can be generated by Nigeria within the next five years, adding that government would have to consider scaling up its commitment to solar.