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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Studying at Cambridge

 

Whitney Anunwa

A Transition Towards a Sustainable Power Supply in Nigeria: Feasibility, Challenges and Improvement Methods

The Nigerian Government deems national energy access as the driving force to attain socioeconomic development. As the largest economy in Africa in terms of nominal GDP (USD 446 billion, 2019), the nation still has a high percentage of its population living in extreme poverty with limited access to electricity. The country’s power sector presents a developmental paradox  a country well endowed in capital, natural and human resources, yet with an abysmally low record of electricity provision for her teeming populace. This study aims to evaluate potential paradigmatic pathways to a fully sustainable electricity supply for Nigeria to resolve its electricity deficit problem. Furthermore, this research aims to carry out a cost-benefit analysis to establish which of the developed pathways is the most feasible from an economic, technical and environmental perspective. 

An energy modelling framework for Nigeria from 2020-2050 was developed using the Long-range Alternatives Energy Planning system (LEAP). Following the energy demand forecast, four scenarios – Business-as-Usual (BAU), Low-Carbon Moderate (LCM), Optimization (OPT), and Green Option (GO) – were developed. The result of this study proves that implementing energy efficiency policies is the nations hidden fuel that would ensure the power sector is duly optimised. Also, with increased renewable energy penetration in the supply mix, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are reduced drastically. 

The BAU serves as a benchmark against which subsequent scenarios are compared. The GO scenario captures the most feasible pathway leading to the most significant energy demand savings (32%), the largest GHG emission reduction (68%), the lowest net present value (USD 17 billion) and the highest share of renewables in the energy mix (71% share) compared to the BAU. 

This study is novel as it is the first time a bottom-up energy modelling approach was applied to four sectors (household, industry, commercial, and agriculture) to identify a futuristic optimal sustainable pathway to address the electricity deficit problem in Nigeria. This study contributes to the rising field of energy transition analysis and energy modelling for developing countries; it will also serve as a guide and recommendation for government and relevant stakeholders on the feasibility of a low-carbon future for Nigeria.