In preparation for COP 27, Nigeria’s government recently launched its Energy Transition Plan (ETP), which aims to provide 340,000 jobs to the people in Nigeria by 2030. The plan further aims for net zero emissions by 2060. ETP is a home-grown, data-backed, multipronged strategy developed for the achievement of net-zero emissions in terms of the nation’s energy consumption. It has a framework for the attainment of emissions’ reduction across five key sectors; power, cooking, oil & gas, transport & industry.
Within the scope of the ETP, about 65 percent of Nigeria’s emissions are affected. All this by transitioning from fossil fuel based energy to renewable sources like solar and natural gas.
Why the need to transition?
Nigeria currently emits about 295 million tons of CO2 per year, which is roughly 0.5 percent of the global annual emission.This makes it seem unfair for them to follow the clean energy rule as they are still in a developing stage, while the global north took advantage of fossil fuels in their initial stages. But the issue at hand is global, which does not differentiate between borders.
Climate change would leave Nigeria vulnerable to droughts, which, given their dependence on rain for food production, would likely cause famine. Additionally, a rise in sea levels has led to more frequent and severe flooding in coastal areas such as Lagos and Port Harcourt and could worsen further.
The November, 2016 soot incidence at Port Harcourt shows how fossil fuel burning has immediate visible and environmental effects, other than the drought and rising sea level concern which take time to become visibly evident. As Nigeria’s population grows and more people move to cities, continued reliance on fossil fuels will lead to similar air pollution issues.
Nigeria has an abundance of natural gas, which will address the nation’s clean cooking deficit in the form of LPG. It also envisions vibrant industries powered by low carbon technologies, streets lined with electric vehicles, and livelihoods enabled by sufficient and clean energy.
Solar energy also plays a pivotal role in their transition plan, since there is an abundance of sunlight in the northern part of Nigeria.
Fossil fuel dependent power plants are economical and practical for a city’s energy consumption needs. But as for the rural areas, it is hard to set up these plants for such purposes because of cost prohibitions and remoteness of the region. This is where the solar panel solutions come to play. Due to rapid cost decline and ongoing improvements in the technology, solar panels are becoming cost competitive and can be deployed in rural areas, either as stand-alone panels on houses or as micro or mini-grids that serve entire communities.
Long term goals and the hurdles
The strategy aims to generate 340,000 work opportunities by 2030 and 840,000 by 2060. The energy sector of Nigeria continues to expand, increasing its contribution to the nation’s socio-economic development.
The ETP also focuses on five critical energy sectors — Power, Cooking, Oil and Gas, Transport, and Industry, which is estimated to cost $1.9 trillion.
Nigeria’s economy needs quick and stable growth over a few decades if it is to create jobs for its 21 million unemployed citizens and lift 87 million people out of extreme poverty. To achieve this growth, Nigeria will require a lot of energy, regardless of which sector achieves it.