Nigeria can only experience robust development in the power sector by tackling its ageing infrastructure and increasing generation capacity to complement the great demand from the rising population. This was a statement made by Dr. Jeremy Gaines of the Nigerian-German Energy Partnership.
He said; “It is important for the public to know that the existing power plant fleet is old and will never generate anywhere near full capacity, meaning many new power plants are required”. “It would be most beneficial if the new administration were to publicly support the Ministry of Power in its drive to ensure the spread of large-scale solar in the North. Only if power plants are built in the North, and renewable power plants can be built quickly, will electricity come to the North on any scale at all”, he added.
He also said; “At the same time it is critical that the new administration provides sovereign guarantees to anchor private investments in new power plants, be they driven by thermal feed stocks or renewable energy. Should it not be able to do so itself, then it could officially request assistance from the international community, specifically the EU, in obtaining concessional loans for such power plants”.
“The government’s efforts to support small-scale solar systems for rural areas are very laudable but will not solve the main problem: electricity for the country’s many conurbations,” he said.
For Gaines, Nigeria can resolve a huge portion of its power problems through solar for the following reasons:
Utility-scale solar power plants (50MW upwards) can generate a substantial volume of electricity in the North, where there is no gas infrastructure to enable gas power plants there but where power is desperately needed.