- Nigeria has put up old coal blocks for sale through its Bureau of Public Enterprises.
- The International Energy Agency does not approve of coal use because of intense carbon emissions, but instead advocates for renewable energy use.
- Nigeria is not the only country that has pledged to be net zero compliant and has turned to coal to close energy access gaps.
The federal government, through the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), has announced the return of coal mining to the country by putting up five coal blocks for sale in Enugu state.
The BPE called for a public bid of the five blocks by prospective investors. The coal blocks are as follows:
- Amasiodo coal block
- Onyeama Coal Block
- Okpara Coal Block
- Inyi Coal Block
- AgwasiAzagba Coal Block
According to the BPE, applicants are expected to be domestic/international investors or groups with proven track records in ownership, financial capability, and technical competence in the exploration and/or mining industry.
President-elect is in support of coal use
While running his presidential campaign, President-elect Bola Ahmed Tinubu said he would encourage the use of coal in closing energy gaps. He pledged to revive coal mining in Enugu state and create industrial hubs that will harness coal. Meanwhile, Nigeria is one of the countries that have committed to reaching net zero emissions. In fact, Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan (ETP) schedules 2060 as the official year to be net zero compliant. At the same time, Nigeria is energy poor and will need maximum harnessing of energy resources to close energy access gaps.
What the International Energy Agency (IEA) thinks about coal use
According to the IEA, global coal demand and its carbon emissions have remained at near-record highs for a decade. With over 95% of global coal consumption occurring in countries that have committed to reaching net zero emissions, immediate action is needed to drive coal use down.
In its 2022 Coal in Net Zero Transitions report, the IEA stated that international cooperation, public financial support, and well‐designed integrated approaches that incorporate the need for people-centered transitions will be essential in the move away from unabated coal.
The agency advocates the use of renewable energy to reduce carbon emissions. However, Nigeria and other African countries are not attracting as many renewable energy investments, accounting for only 1% in 2022.
Below is a list of coal-dependent countries as of 2022. These countries are ranked by the IEA as follows:
- South Africa
- United States
What you should know: According to the IEA, emerging markets and developing economies accounted for more than half of new coal capacity in 1987 and have done so every year since 1994.
- The IEA also notes that in the last ten years, emerging markets and developing economies accounted for over 90% of all new unabated coal capacity additions. Meanwhile, China has been the largest market for new coal plants by far, accounting for over half of the total built since 1970 and more than 60% of the worldwide total in the last ten years.
- In December 2022, Britain approved a deep coal mine to produce high-polluting fuel for use in steelmaking. The Woodhouse Colliery, to be developed by West Cumbria Mining in northwest England, seeks to extract coking coal which is used in the steel industry rather than for electricity generation. The project is expected to create 500 jobs.
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