Nigeria, West Africa’s electricity demand/supply gap stalls growth potential – report
by KELECHI EWUZIE
May 30, 2017 | 12:52 am| | | Start Conversation
The electricity demand/supply gap in Nigeria in particular and West Africa in general is greater than 40 percent an African Development Bank (AfDB) report has indicated.
With so much promise shown by the growth of the region, lack of adequate electricity may hamper growth if not addresses as a matter of urgency.
According to a report by (AfDB) the mismatch between the increasing demand for energy and the limited power generation and transmission is a clear limit to the region exploiting its full potentials?
“West Africa may be the fastest growing region in Africa, but its power deficiency mirrors that of other regions on the continent”.
The report stated that access to electricity in the region is extremely low when compared to other developing communities globally, with 57 percent of its population unable to enjoy any decent energy supply.
West Africa is rich in energy resources, with large hydropower energy potentials, strong winds that could allow for wind energy deployment and intense solar radiation. But most of citizens do not enjoy stable and affordable electricity. This gap presents a huge opportunity for investors.
“Using such sources would help to expand access while reducing reliance on traditional biomass, increase reliability and affordability, and contribute to climate change mitigation,” the AfDB report said.
In Nigeria for instance, the abysmal market liquidity squeeze originating from the inability of distribution companies (“Discos”) to collect tariffs due them has got generating companies (“Gencos”) struggling to secure the necessary funding for their operations, acquiring spare parts and equipment, and meeting other obligations for the power generation stations.
The report revealed that hydropower in West Africa has an estimated potential of 25,000 megawatts, yet only 16 percent has been exploited and despite Africa’s wealth in waterways, it only holds 214 dams out of the 1,282 total in Africa.
Several in-country lakes and dams hold promise for renewable energy development, the report stressed. Volta River was identified in the report as holding great potential for Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Togo, while Lake Chad could be used to serve Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad.
Solar power projects are rapidly popping up across West Africa, including the 155 MW Nzema solar power plants in Ghana, one of the largest in Africa. However, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Guinea has potentials for hydropower, while Mali and Niger had for solar energy, and Cape Verde, Gambia and Senegal for wind resources.
Investors sure would have noticed the region’s potentials and will be gearing up to pounce on opportunities as they present themselves, providing it eliminates its major drawback; poor governance.
West Africa should pay attention to renewable energy, the AfDB report says. It has the capacity to generate 50 percent of the region’s electricity by 2030. Apart from sustainability, getting energy from renewable sources could enhance West Africa ability to access to reliable power.
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