Fuel scarcity is now a phenomenon in Nigeria. This fuel scarcity is a disturbing menace to the economy of Nigeria. It is odd that Nigeria which exports fuel is undergoing fuel scarcity within its borders. There is a great need to change the way the oil and gas sector is being run in Nigeria. Fuel scarcity in Nigeria reopens the debate on the merits and demerits of fuel subsidy.
Nigeria needs to deregulate the downstream sector of our oil and gas economy. This is necessary to check this fuel scarcity. It is now a necessity to remove fuel subsidy. However, this is not a sustainable solution to the energy crisis in Nigeria.
Below are best alternatives to fuel scarcity in Nigeria:
1. Biomass: This is one alternative for Nigeria. This is Sweden’s first source of energy and it makes up for 32% of their total energy consumption. As stated by the Bioenergy Association, the amount of energy consumption of biomass increased from 88 terawatt hours to 115 terawatt hours from 2000 to 2009. Within that same period, there was a decline of its usage from 112 terawatt hours to 112 terawatt hours. Sweden is working towards making her transportation sector completely independent of fossil fuels by the year 2030. She wants to be generating energy from a certain type of ingredients like a motley assortment of ingredients like potato peels, cow intestines and used cooking oil. The country is already making use of 99% of its waste and it imported 800 000 tons of waste in 2014. Nigeria can also use biomass as fuel in order to tackle fuel scarcity.
2. Ethanol: This is one good alternative that Nigeria can make use of. The fuel ethanol option is also good for the environment. There has been an increase in the use of fuel ethanol in the United States from 1.7 billion gallons in 2001 to about 13.2 billion in 2013. Nigeria is a key member of the Kyoto protocol which is a legal binding agreement for certain countries to reduce their collective emissions of the greenhouse. In order to reduce greenhouse emission amidst fuel scarcity, it is necessary to blend a certain percentage of fuel with gasoline so as to reduce the emission of carbon. An E-10 blend will remove about 900 metric tonnes of carbon from our presence. Also blending E-10 will lead to 10% decrease in gasoline importation and 10% decrease in subsidy which will leave more money in government hands. It can clearly be seen that the use of ethanol will lead to economic growth. The United States depends on corn for its ethanol. The United States is among the largest producers of corn. Nigeria is also a leading producer of sorghum and wheat in Africa and the largest producer of cassava which is a source of ethanol. If Nigeria decides to make effective use of its ethanol, it can generate 410 gallons of alcohol from one acre of cassava.
3. Solar Energy: The highest concentration of sunlight can be found in Africa. This has made the continent have a great the best potential for solar energy developments. This is confirmed by the German aeronautics and space research centre. In spite of Africa’s solar energy potential, 80% of Africa’s source of energy underutilization is still fossil fuels. Despite the fact that Nigeria, which is the largest economy in Africa has attracted many developers of solar power including Gigawatt Global that is erecting a 100MW PV station in the north, a US Investment consortium has made a pact with Nigeria to supply up to 1,200MW of solar-powered electricity in Nigeria. It is obvious that solar power can be the best solution to the country’s power failure since the terrestrial radiation of the country is up to 2.079*1015 KW/h/year.
4. Geothermal Energy: Nigeria is yet to make use of the heat from its land area. Many professionals have confirmed Nigeria’s energy and heat potential. The success of Kenya’s geothermal power generation is an example to Nigeria. It also shows Nigerians can achieve if the country invests in geothermal wells. Geothermal energy boosted the power generation of Kenya by 17.5%. A proper pilot programme will encourage private investment and promote the country’s generation capacity which continues to reduce due to too much dependence on oil and gas. It has been found that there are abundant sources of geothermal energy along the Benue trough in Nasarawa and Benue troughs including Borno basin. Today, Nigeria has lost about 2000 megawatts to the shortage of gas. It is no longer a new thing in Nigeria that there is fuel scarcity. Another is the frequent power shortage. It has been assumed that by now Nigeria has to have an alternative source as Kainji dam runs on water.
How To Encourage These Alternatives In Nigeria
- Awareness Creation: There is a need to create more awareness of the alternatives to fuel scarcity in Nigeria. Farmers also need to be encouraged as cassava is not only a source of food but also a source of fuel. Nigerians need to know the benefits of agriculture in relation to energy.
- Encouraging Independent Solar Power Contractors In Nigeria: The Nigerian government should encourage independent companies that deal on solar power generation. There should be a reduction in the restriction placed on these companies so as to support solar energy generation in Nigeria.
- Subsidies For Ethanol Production: The Nigerian government should promote more subsidies for cassava production which is used in the production of ethanol. If Nigeria begins to make use of ethanol as an energy source, this will reduce its dependence on crude oil. More production of biomass products should be encouraged as this will encourage ethanol production.
- Provision Of Raw Materials: Raw materials are needed by these companies. These raw materials are used by the companies to manufacture the mechanized equipment needed for solar power generation. Solar power generation plants are needed more in Nigeria and more raw materials will encourage this.
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