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August Free Report [Electricity Generation in Nigeria, and it's negative impact on the environment]

by Obadare Adenekan | 01-09-2023 04:06 recommendations 0

Electricity Generation in Nigeria, and its Negative Impact on the Environment

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, with over 200 million people. However, the country faces a chronic shortage of electricity that affects its economic and social development. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Nigeria generated about 35.7 thousand gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity in 2020, which was far below the demand of over 29 terawatt hours (TWh) in the same year. Moreover, the electricity supply was often unreliable and prone to blackouts, forcing many households and businesses to rely on diesel generators for backup power.

The main sources of electricity generation in Nigeria are natural gas, hydro, coal, and oil. Natural gas accounted for about 86% of the total generation in 2020, followed by hydro (11%), coal (2%), and oil (1%). However, these sources have various environmental impacts that pose challenges for the sustainability of the electricity sector and the well-being of the population.

Natural gas is the dominant source of electricity generation in Nigeria because of its abundant reserves and relatively low cost. However, natural gas production and consumption emit greenhouse gases (GHGs), such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), that contribute to global warming and climate change. According to the World Bank, Nigeria's CO2 emissions from natural gas flaring alone were about 34.7 million metric tons in 2019, equivalent to the annual emissions of 7.5 million cars. Moreover, natural gas flaring wastes valuable energy resources and causes air pollution that affects human health and agricultural productivity.

Hydro power is the second largest source of electricity generation in Nigeria, mainly from the Kainji, Jebba, and Shiroro dams on the Niger River. Hydro power is generally considered a renewable and low-carbon source of energy, but it also has some environmental drawbacks. For instance, large dams can alter the natural flow and ecology of rivers, affecting fish migration, biodiversity, water quality, and sedimentation. Furthermore, dams can displace local communities and cause social conflicts over land and water rights.

Coal is a minor source of electricity generation in Nigeria, but it has significant environmental impacts. Coal mining can cause land degradation, deforestation, soil erosion, and water pollution. Coal combustion can also emit GHGs and other air pollutants, such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), and mercury (Hg), that can harm human health and the environment. According to a study by Health of Mother Earth Foundation, coal-fired power plants in Nigeria could cause about 1,600 premature deaths per year due to air pollution.

Oil is another minor source of electricity generation in Nigeria, mostly from diesel generators used as backup or off-grid power sources. Oil production and consumption can also emit GHGs and other air pollutants that contribute to global warming and air pollution. Moreover, oil spills can occur during exploration, transportation, or refining of oil, causing severe damage to the environment and livelihoods of local communities. According to Amnesty International, oil spills have contaminated the land and water resources of the Niger Delta region for decades, affecting the health and human rights of millions of people.

In conclusion, electricity generation in Nigeria has various negative impacts on the environment that need to be addressed urgently. The country should adopt more sustainable and cleaner sources of energy, such as solar, wind, biomass, or geothermal power, that can reduce GHG emissions and other environmental problems. The country should also improve its energy efficiency and conservation measures to reduce electricity demand and wastage. Furthermore, the country should strengthen its environmental regulations and enforcement mechanisms to ensure that electricity producers comply with environmental standards and mitigate their impacts on the environment and society.

Obadare Adenekan

  • Nigeria Former E-gen Ambassador Obadare Adenekan
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