- Advocates more investment in infrastructure to achieve uninterrupted power supply
- Natural gas solution to Nigeria’s electricity woes – Ghanian minister
- Says Nigeria need investment in infrastructure to achieve energy security
By Bianca Iboma-Emefu
Deputy Minister of Ghana Hon Andrew Mercer has recommended natural gas as a solution to Nigeria’s quest for energy security. While Natural gas is a game-changer in the energy sector, Ghana does not have gas, while Nigeria has an excess that requires technology to solve the challenge of electricity.
He called for more investment and collaborative effort to meet energy security and climate goals, in Nigeria and Africa in general.
“Nigeria’s grid infrastructure cannot accommodate more than 4 to 5 GW of generation capacity at any given time. This is just one reason for the lack of electricity access experienced by 43 per cent of the population of Nigeria,” he stated.
Mercer made this declaration at the Nigeria Energy Exhibition and Conferences where the event took a West African outlook, with participants discussing inter-regional electricity connection efforts as well as spotlighting Ghana’s electrification efforts.
“When energy infrastructure is weak, there is less signal to invest as individual projects are less viable and are deemed riskier, particularly by the private sector. Nigeria should expand beyond the state of electricity grids or gas pipelines and include public services such as trained utility workers, water resources, public safety and security forces, and much more.”
The energy minister describes dwindling hydro and other energy constraints, as
energy sources resulted in a shift away from hydroelectric power. The development of alternative energy sources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal power, is seen as crucial for meeting the energy needs of the future while minimizing negative impacts on the environment.
He stressed the need for more renewables, noting that the government wants renewable contribution at 10 per cent by 2030, backs the $85mn Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) and combatting energy ‘trilemma’.
Mercer highlighted the country’s efforts to combat the trilemma of energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability.
He pointed out Ghana’s approach and how they were able to shift from “viewing energy security, equity and environmental to sustainability, three divergent paths at a crossroads, but rather as three destinations they needed to arrive simultaneously.
“Nigeria needs to emulate Ghana, stating that Ghana has traditionally relied on hydro and thermal sources for power generation. However, the dwindling hydro resources, geopolitical tensions and fuel availability impact its energy security. As a result, there is a need for a much more diverse energy mix.
“Ghana is aiming to strengthen its energy security by reducing its dependence on hydro and thermal sources. The government plans to scale up renewable energy contribution to the energy mix at 10 per cent from the current 2 per cent by 2030.
Explaining further, he said renewable sources play a key role in the electrification of rural and unserved areas. Ghana has set a target of meeting universal energy access by 2024—the current electrification rate is 88 per cent.
“To achieve this the government has committed to electrifying 200 islands and 2,000 lake-side communities, a move that will provide power to 1.5 million people. Ghana plans to utilize decentralized renewable energy resources to power hard-to-reach island communities. Currently, five operational mini-grids electrify 10,000 people with three more under construction and expected to serve 6,000 when completed.
Mercer added, that last December the government launched the Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program (SREP). The $85m program is funded by concessional funding from the Climate Investment Fund, ($28.49 million), the African Development Fund ($27.39 million), Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs ($13.30 million) and the government of Ghana ($16 million), just to ensure environmental sustainability.
“Ghana’s evolving power mix is characterized by a shift to renewables had a positive impact on energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability.
“However, continued efforts including policy support and infrastructure development are crucial to achieving a more balanced and sustainable energy sector that addresses the energy trilemma,” Hon Mercer stated.
Other panellists who spoke at the Leadership Summit were the CEO, Gridco Ghana, Ebenezer Kofi Essienyi, Director Power, Ministry of Energy, Ghana Solomon Adjetey Sowah, Lead Transition Team, United Kingdom -Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory facility, Eyo Ekpo, MD TCN Transmission Company of Nigeria, Suleiman Abdulaziz, the session was anchored by Paschal Odinde.