PRESIDENTIAL candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar has promised to increase the country’s power generation capacity by 25000 mega watts (mw) if elected as President in 2023.
According to theCable, this is among several promises made by the former vice president in his policy document.
Atiku said power, which he described as one of the critical aspects of his administration, would be improved upon through various measures, including non-renewable energy and other thermal fuels and natural gas.
“Our electricity target is put at 25,000mw generated capacity mix of non-renewable energy and other thermal fuels including natural gas,” he said.
“Power sector reform will be a critical policy priority.
“A few years into my government, Nigeria shall make giant strides in diversifying its sources of power and delivering up to 20,000mw of electricity.”
The Nigerian power sector is bedevilled by challenges including poor generation and supply. The sector has underdeveloped despite promises and huge investments by successive governments.
Nigeria has one of the lowest annual consumption of electricity per capita rates, estimated at less than 150 kwh, a development which has given rise to the use of alternatives like standby generators.
The challenges are multiple. With over 20 grid-connected generating plants in Nigeria, many plants suffer from recurrent challenges such as maintenance and repair requirements, trips, faults and leakages that make them unavailable for evacuation to the national grid sometimes.
Of Nigeria’s 13,000mw of installed generation capacity, only 3,500mw to 5,000mw was available for transmission to the final consumers.
The transmission network, which is fully government owned, with a capacity to wheel just about 5,300mw of power or thereabouts, is beset with system collapse incidents (partial and total). For distribution, data shows a substantial percentage of technical losses before electricity reaches the final consumer.
Underinvestment in building new infrastructure and lack of appropriate maintenance of the current infrastructure have constrained the transmission network expansion.
The World Bank stated in 2021 that about 85 million Nigerians do not have access to grid electricity. This number represents 43 per cent of the country’s population and makes Nigeria the country with the largest energy access deficit in the world.
The lack of reliable power was a significant constraint for citizens and businesses, resulting on annual economic losses estimated at $26.2 billion (₦10.1 trillion) which was equivalent to about 2 per cent of GDP. In its 2020 Ease of Doing Business report, World Bank stated that Nigeria ranks 171 out of 190 countries in getting electricity and electricity access was seen as one of the major constraints for the private sector.