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Is the power sector in Nigeria jinxed?

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By Ebere Orakpo
IT has become so obvious that we are a    nation with leaders who are plenteous in   words but short on action. We abound in great ideas and laudable policies but short on implementation.

Minister of State for Energy
Minister of State for Energy

This explains why  infrastructure development which will drive the economy is almost at zero-level. Nigerians are among the best in any profession you can think of. We have very brilliant men and women who can hold their own anywhere in the world, yet we are not where we should be. Our leaders simply lack the political will to move the nation forward. It is high time the sleeping giant awoke from slumber and take her rightful place in the comity of nations. The country’s situation is aptly captured by the Igbo adage which says:

“Those with buttocks don’t know how to sit.” Nigeria is immensely blessed, yet we are among the poorest in the world. Perhaps, taking a look at what some developing nations are doing especially in the area of power, which is no doubt the main driver of economic development, will challenge our leaders to be more proactive and stop the rhetoric and buck-passing.

Iran: Moj News Agency reported recently that Iran is to open two power plants this month. According to the managing director of Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution in Iran, Mohammad Behzad, with the two new power plants in Kerman Province and Asaluyeh Port, electricity output will go up by 2,440 MW as Kerman has1,000 MW capacity while Asaluyeh has 1,440 MW capacity. Two other power plants – Chabahar and Khorramshahr – according to the report, will be ready for commissioning this year.

UAE to have first Arab nuclear power plant in 2015: According to Emirates Business, the United Arab Emirates, UAE, which has got an approval from the United States to proceed with its nuclear plans, is expected to have its first nuclear reactor completed by as early as 2015, making it the first operator of a nuclear plant in the region.

Giving the approval recently, US President Barack Obama said: “I have considered the proposed agreement for co-operation between the government of the United States of America and the Government of the United Arab Emirates concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy, along with the views, recommendations, and statements of the interested agencies. Pursuant to section 123b of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, I hereby approve the proposed agreement and authorise the Secretary of State to arrange for its execution,” Obama said.

Former OPEC Secretary-General and a board member of the Kuwait Nuclear Committee, Dr Adnan Shihab-Eldin said the UAE stands the best chance of having the first power plant online by 2017-2019, adding that the country was not taking any short cuts, but is rather “fast-tracking” the process to fulfill the requirement in minimum time feasible, which involves engaging with competent and experienced vendors, usually through joint ventures. “Because they don’t have the manpower, they are building their own independent organisations, they are recruiting staff while at the same time training their own people.

They are probably thinking   of a joint venture with an  experienced utility provider,” he said, adding that “by 2020-2025, the relative size of the future role of nuclear power versus gas power and the role of renewable energy becomes clearer. Waiting means it may be too late or too costly to start then.”

French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, last year, had signed civilian nuclear deals with Algeria and Libya, and offered the kingdom help to develop civilian nuclear energy. In the same vein, the United States said it would help Saudi Arabia to develop peaceful nuclear energy and Russia has also expressed interest in helping the kingdom develop a civilian nuclear energy programme.

Jordan: The Jordanian government is restrategising to address Jordan’s increasing energy demand, which is expected to rise to 5.5 per cent yearly within the decade. Jordan expects to generate 600 megawatts (MW) of wind energy by 2015 and 300 MW of solar energy by 2020, under a revised national strategy that aims to increase the rate of domestically-produced energy, according to The Jordan

Times. Statistics have shown that wind power produces about 1.5 per cent of worldwide electricity use, and is growing rapidly. As of May 2009, about 80 countries around the world are using wind power on a commercial basis and that is what Jordan is set to tap into.

Qatar: Qatar is considering building one of the world’s largest solar power complexes to help meet demand, which could increase four-fold over the next 30 years, the Middle East Economic Digest reported. This Gulf country with current capacity of 4,200 megawatts expects to add 16,260 megawatts of power to the national grid between 2011 and 2036, the magazine said, quoting Salah Hamza, senior business development planner at Qatar General Electricity & Water Corp.

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