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Nigeria Energy Problem; common sense and relevant knowledge needed

By Afam Nnaji on February, 6 2008

Views: 4,392

A lot of people have come up with many solutions to the current energy problem in Nigeria with solutions proffered ranging from incorrect conclusions to wishful thinking based on wrong premises.

What does it take for one to take the time to objectively analyze a problem before talking about a solution? Why waste time and money presenting position papers on issues that have not be analyzed in an objective and workable manner?

Why propose solutions that may never work and in the process waste funds and make things difficult for Nigerians that really need a reasonable stable supply of electricity to function better?

Individuals and companies are throwing up figures here and there about our current energy needs and the amount needed to provide enough power to meet the needs.

Some have even taken time to put a time frame even when the basic issue has not been adequately trashed out - our current energy need.

Energy efficiency and energy conservation are 2 important things that must be tackled if ever we are going to solve our energy problems.

Energy efficiency

Basically all electrical and electronic appliance out there today has an energy efficient alternative based on greater efficiencies in the power conversion stages which basically means that an electrical appliance that once needed up to 300W to function may need just 100W to perform the same function.

Digital signal processing is being used these days in the area of power conversions and appliances that utilize this technique should be embraced and in the process we will be reducing our energy needs first so we can plan for our actual need and maybe projected need based on accurate and reasonable data.

A typical example is the computer monitor. The CRT (cathode ray tube type) usually takes at least 250W of electricity every hour where as an LCD (Liquid crystal display type) takes as low as 36W of electricity per hour to perform the same function.

Another is the energy saving bulb where 10 nos 60W bulbs would require at least 600W per hour where as 10 nos 10W energy saving bulbs will require just 100W to provide the same light and even brighter one at that.

Energy conservation

While we complain about unreliable power supply it is worth stating here that a lot of people waste energy in the homes or in the offices. It is not uncommon to see houses or offices with security lights on even in the day time, seems the switches are permanently in the ON position.

It could be argued that after all the occupants of these houses or offices pay for the energy they consume but should this be allowed to continue? Just because you can pay for something does not mean you should waste it especially when what you are wasting is coming from a pool that others depend on.

People that waste energy this way should be made to pay more or disconnected so that we can use the little we have more intelligently while waiting for more electricity to be generated.

The FG should consider replacing all regular bulbs with energy efficient ones if only to reduce the current demand for electricity. Ghana did it, Australia will be making it illegal for one to use the regular bulbs by 2009.

So, when people state that Nigeria need 50,000 MW of electricity because South Africa is currently consuming say 50,000MW one cannot but wonder where this figure is coming from.

Even the developed nations today are doing all they can to tackle the current energy crisis by enforcing energy conservation policies and looking for ways to bring down the energy requirements while we are here quoting numbers by mere comparisons with what other nations are currently using.

What if we do not need 50,000MW of electricity right now? What if our energy need is less than 18,000MW of electricity once energy efficiency and energy conservation are taken seriously by the government?

In examinations a lot of people fail not because they do not know the right answers to the questions asked but sometimes they fail because they do not even understand the questions, hence they proceed to provide answers to what they believe the questions are.

Let us get reasonable information on our current energy needs before we embark on never ending projects to develop massive power generating stations that will cost a lot of money which will ultimately be passed down to the end user.

By the way, the government should look towards distributed energy generation. The $10B that was allegedly spent in the power sector in 8 years without much progress could have gone a long way in subsidizing the costs of solar panels and wind generators for Nigerians to use to generate their own electricity and in the process making life easier for the PHCN to contend with a reduced energy demand.

We need common sense and access to relevant information as regards energy needs and improvements in power conversion and utilization to be able to correctly state our current energy needs lest we end up providing answers to questions that were never asked in the first place.


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