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Although, there are about 645 million people without electricity in Africa, with about 90 million Nigerians affected, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said the Federal Government is doing everything possible to reverse the trend in Nigeria.
Fashola, at a post-event interview with The Guardian on the side line of the on-going first Africa Investment Forum (AIF), organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB), in Johannesburg, South Africa, yesterday, said the Ministry expects over 1000 megawatts (mw) to come on stream next year.
“We have also put in place about 90 transmission projects in various stages of completion. We have discovered transmission has a challenge and attention has been shifted to overcoming it. There is a 10-year transmission expansion plan, government is leading on that, investing N72 billion for the immediately off-take of the 2000MW that is available but yet to be distributed. We are working with the distribution companies on this.’’
Fashola, who was also a panellist at the ‘Powering Africa’s Transformation’ session, said about three years ago, the big conversation was that there was no enough power, the transmission system is weak. “Today, we have enough power, but we are not distributing. It means that what we did in generation, we must do more in distribution. We have over 7000MW generation of power as at today; transmission capacity is expanding, though not at the right pace, but we are working on it. Before the end of this year, about 900MW would be delivered; 450MW has already been delivered by Azure.”
Fashola noted that power generation and distribution require more efforts, stressing that cost of energy is shrouded in lots of technicalities including training, building of infrastructure, transmission, and a host others.
Meanwhile, the AfDB also disclosed that of the world’s 20 countries with the least access to electricity, 13 are in Africa, including Nigeria, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, Mozambique, Madagascar, Niger, Malawi, Burkina Faso, and Angola.
But the Continent, according to AfDB, has enormous untapped renewable energy, where it is estimated that around 93 per cent of economically feasible hydropower potential remains unused.AfDB said sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), has undiscovered, but technically recoverable, energy resources estimated at about 115.34 billion barrels of oil and 21.05 trillion cubic metres of gas.
To deliver universal energy access in SSA, the region, according to AfDB requires an additional $28 billion in yearly investment over and above the level in the new policies scenario.“Africa’s renewable energy sources are diverse, unevenly distributed and enormous in quantity, almost unlimited solar potential (10 TW), abundant hydro (350 gigawatts, GW), wind (110 GW), and geothermal energy sources (15 GW).