The needs to balance the imminent energy transition and promote energy efficiency are prominent challenges in the energy sector. The energy sector has continued to sustain the country’s economic development. It is expedient that these challenges are resolved to continue the growth of the energy sector, which boosts the country’s development.
Drawing from this backdrop, this essay seeks to elucidate the role of the energy sector in our nation’s development. The essay identifies the issues affecting the energy sector. In its final part, the essay recommends a more viable direction for the future growth of the energy sector.
Keywords: Energy, Energy Sector, Development
There is no doubt that Nigeria is greatly endowed with rich energy resources. The energy sector has been a sustainable machine for the country’s increased development.
Energy plays an important role in the political, social, and economic development of the country. It goes to the root, affecting every area of our lives. The image of Nigeria, blessed with many energy resources that sustain its economic growth, has been recognized internationally.
According to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), petroleum exports revenue in Nigeria represents about 86% of the country’s total export revenue. The implication of this is that energy resources are key components of the country’s development and a vital aspect of its future growth.
While the country’s energy sector gradually progresses into continued development, the need to increase access to clean energy while mitigating climate change and to also increase energy efficiency to eradicate energy poverty are salient issues that dominate the energy sector, notwithstanding that these issues are necessary for the country’s sustainable development.
- Challenges Facing the Energy Sector
Nigeria has been a country that has relied on non-renewable energy sources for a long time, and this is even more feasible as fossil fuels dominate our energy mix.
The country’s heavy reliance on these energy sources has posed a greater challenge to our climate by escalating the impacts of climate change caused by the conscious emission of greenhouse gases.
This is supported by a statistical report from the United Nations that reveals that non-renewable energy is the major cause of climate change, making up around 60 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions.
The operation of fossil fuels in our energy mix has led to pollution and oil spills that have dangerously affected many communities, thereby retarding the economic growth and development of our nation.
According to a report from the University of St. Fallen in Switzerland, infants in the Niger Delta region were twice as likely to die in their first month of life if their mothers lived near an oil spill. This study also revealed that 11,000 premature deaths are recorded each year in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
This implies the harmful effects of the energy source (fossil fuels) heavily relied upon by Nigeria.
While Nigeria has made conscious efforts to move from the regime of fossil fuels to renewable energy, and this has been officially recognized by adopting the Paris Agreement of 2015 in line with Sustainable Development Goal 7, the country has faced the issue of inadequate investment in renewable energy sources in the country.
This is because the country has failed to create an enabling environment to attract foreign investment in our multiple renewable energy projects.
The question to be asked is: how can Nigeria greatly benefit from our renewable energy sources where there is no good infrastructure to do so? These issues have affected our sustainable development.
The energy sector has been hit hard by the issue of energy poverty in Nigeria. This is driven by the lack of access to electricity and energy sources in Nigeria.
The International Energy Agency has revealed that about 57% of Nigeria’s Population lacks access to electricity. This has negatively affected the social and economic development of our nation. This is because many people in rural areas lack access to reliable and affordable electricity in their community.
This has affected and hindered their opportunity for development. In fact, the inadequate power supply facing many communities clearly explains the issue of poor energy access in the country.
Also, the issue of regulatory frameworks for the energy sector is a cause for concern. Most electricity policies in the country are not being enforced. The absence of clear and defined regulatory frameworks for the energy sector has affected the capabilities of foreign investments. This has completely sunk the transparency of this sector.
- Directions for the Future
While Nigeria is a country that opts for the best in its national development, in order to progress from its developing status to a developed one, the country must leverage its major development machinery, which is the energy sector.
To increase sustainable development in the country and through the energy sector, the country must make room for renewable energy through the process of diversification in its energy mix.
To drive investment in renewable energy sources, the country must progress to create an enabling environment by reshaping the energy sector.
The country must move towards adopting cleaner energy and introducing a tax incentive for these cleaner fuels or implementing carbon prices to achieve an equal playing field for investment in clean energy. The government can be directed towards introducing policies that will enable and attract investments.
The country must bridge the gap in renewable energy resources by using foreign support, technology transfer, reviewing existing policies, and adopting home-based power generation capacity.
The country can encourage Renewable energy technologies by promoting their potential in rural areas. There must be conscious policies directed to lower prices for renewable electricity in the country.
While access to clean energy is fundamental to the growth of the energy sector in the long run, there must be investments to increase infrastructure for renewable energy resources and eradicate energy poverty.
According to the International Energy Agency, the level of investment required to achieve universal access in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to be US $27 billion per year (2018–30), which is at least double current levels of financing.
This clearly shows that to improve energy access and end poverty, investment is likely the most positive and viable tool needed. There is a need for increased investments from domestic and foreign sources in order to achieve a sustainable energy transition and development.
Furthermore, the key to solving major issues in Nigeria’s energy sector is energy efficiency. To promote energy efficiency, the country must direct its clear and defined policy to increase energy efficiency products in the country.
Investment in energy efficiency must also be encouraged. The country should make conscious efforts to continue the formulation and implementation of energy efficiency programs and policies in the energy sector that aim at reducing power shortages and meeting energy demands.
The Energy sector has been a crucial part of the country’s development, and it acts as a vehicle for the country’s sustainable development.
This Energy Sector has been exposed to challenges that may affect its growth, such as poor access to clean energy, inadequate infrastructure, and poor regulatory frameworks.
Through the recommendations proposed in this essay, the Energy sector can safely solve its challenges while contributing to the nation’s development.
About the Author
Egwu Francis is a 200-level law student at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He has a special interest in legal writing and research and has written so many articles. He has served as a researcher for many Competitions and Projects in his Community.
He is currently serving as an editor for Tax Club at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.