• Monday, July 22, 2024
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Gas, power woes hinder Nigeria’s electric, CNG vehicle shift, says Barth Nnaji

…Calls for 100,000MW generation, super grid transmission infrastructure

Nigeria’s ambition to transition towards cleaner transportation options like electric and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles faces a significant hurdle of unreliable gas supplies and a struggling national grid, according to Barth Nnaji, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Geometric Power Group.

Nnaji raised concerns about the feasibility of the government’s green initiative without addressing these underlying issues, warning that the current promotion of the use of electric and gas-powered vehicles in Nigeria would be thwarted by insufficient supply of gas and electricity as well as non-availability of required infrastructure to recharge electric vehicles.

The Geometric Power Group CEO made this known on Thursday when he delivered the keynote address on “Powering Up Nigeria: Embracing Clean Technologies for Sustainable Growth,” at the American Business Council (ABC) Economic Update, in Lagos.

Read also: CNG initiative to cut petrol import spendings by $4.4bn annually–FG

“In terms of vehicular transportation, Nigeria seems to be embracing CNG vehicles and electric vehicles. But there are challenges to these two solutions. In the CNG solution, the gas must be available to be compressed into CNG.

“Unfortunately, the non-availability of adequate gas for power and industrial processes will also afflict the CNG initiative,” he said.

Nnaji, the former Minister of Power, insisted that the federal government should resist any pressure to label natural gas as a typical fossil fuel destined for elimination under the shift to cleaner energy sources.

He cautioned the government against hastily pursuing nuclear energy development without thoroughly addressing the challenges of managing its wastewater.

Meanwhile, Nnaji has urged the government to boost power generation to 100,000 MW and modernize the national power transmission system to a super grid, ensuring efficient electricity delivery across the entire country.

He praised the authorities for tapping into international markets for Nigeria’s natural gas but reminded them to prioritize domestic needs first, emphasizing that “charity starts at home.”

According to the CEO, it is not just local power producers that are currently bleeding owing to insufficient gas; there is not sufficient liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for our kitchens.

He added: “A well-articulated and sustainable programme needs to be put in place to incentivise investors to aggressively increase natural gas production in Nigeria. It is for this reason that I have called for emergency treatment of the gas sector in Nigeria.”

“Without including this potentially new demand sector for power, I estimate that Nigeria needs more than 100,000 MW to meet its energy needs.

“Unfortunately, we currently have just 13,000MW of installed capacity from which we are only able to put less than 5,000 MW on-grid due to reasons primarily of gas and transmission constraints.”

Nnaji acknowledged the reality of climate change but insisted that in considering the achievement of climate change objectives, Nigeria should first focus on energy security for its population.

He said, “We should recognise that natural gas is transition energy. We will not be cowed to classify it as a regular fossil fuel to be extinguished. This fuel is our energy ticket to sustainable economic development.”

Advising the government to be wary of dabbling into nuclear energy, Nnaji observed that there were three main issues with nuclear energy, which its promoters hardly highlighted.

He said, “The first is that the main raw material for its production, uranium, is a mineral that is mined. The environment is affected adversely in the process of its production.

“The second issue is the management of its wastewater. Japan is still grappling with how to dispose of its nuclear wastewater following the 2011 tsunami, which destroyed its nuclear plant in Fukushima.

“If Japan, a wealthy nation and a technological superpower, could find it difficult to sort out the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear wastewater, with over 62 types of radioactive materials, how about a typical developing country?

According to him, it is easy to weaponise a nuclear plant. “A nuclear weapon in the hands of some countries can be extremely dangerous.”

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