The time has come for the Federal Government to take concrete action on the use of coal for power generation in Nigeria.
As recently as, 2004 coal contributed 41% of global electricity generation. That percentage is projected to rise to 45% by 2030. This is largely because of the competitiveness of coal as an abundantly available energy source.
Economic engine rooms like India and China are embracing coal as a reliable source of electricity generation and plan to build scores of coal power plants to boost their approach to First World status.
But sadly, Nigeria is missing in action-her use of of coal for electricity generation stands at a dismal 0%. This is despite the enormous coal deposits in Enugu and 12 other states in Nigeria. As a result Nigerians have grown to expect life where electricity is becoming the exception not the rule – even when a ready source of electricity is abundantly available within the country.
The Federal Government continually blames poor power generation on scarcity of Natural Gas, which provides the bulk Nigeria’s ever dwindling electricity supply, but won’t take any concrete steps to harness coal.
Countries like the US and China, however continue to use coal for a majority of their electricity needs, thereby avoiding such common occurrences as blackouts and power interruptions that are prevalent in Nigeria. according to a 2003 estimate for example the US and China accounted for 43% of global coal consumption.
It is true that there are other energy sources with less impact compared to coal, but there is a reason industrial heavyweights like China and the US rely on it. Perhaps, there is something they know about coal that we don’t know.
The Federal Government must without delay, begin the building of coal power plants in the 6 geo political zones of the country as a way of providing a sustainable medium term boost to Nigeria’s economy while providing new jobs. Public Private Partnerships (PPP) should be seriously explored as a means of easily fund this national project.