As of 2023, Nigeria's electricity consumption presents a challenging picture, with a predominant reliance on fossil fuels and a paltry share for low-carbon energy sources. Fossil fuels, in combination with gas, account for a sum of 51.14 TWh, reflecting a strong dependency on non-sustainable energy sources, while low-carbon electricity, comprising entirely of hydropower, stands at just 8.27 TWh. In contrast to the global average of 410 watts per person, this suggests a significantly low rate of electricity generation and consumption. Such low levels can have severe repercussions, hampering industrial growth, condemning households to darkness or low-quality energy solutions, and placing a considerable strain on the nation's socio-economic development.
To amplify its low-carbon electricity generation, Nigeria can take a leaf out of the books of several successful countries. For instance, Brazil, with climatic and developmental similarities to Nigeria, has managed to produce 94 TWh of electricity through wind energy. Following in Brazil's footsteps, Nigeria could leverage its vast geographical landscape for wind-farm installations. Similarly, India, a country renowned for its sunny weather much like Nigeria, generated 91 TWh of electricity through wind and 119 TWh via solar power. Therefore, Nigeria could potentially tap into its abundant sunlight for solar power generation, propelling the country towards a substantial boost in low-carbon energy production.
Looking back at Nigeria's history of low-carbon electricity, it is evident that the journey has been mercurial, with gains and losses evenly spread. There has been a consistent focus on hydropower since the early 1980s yet fluctuations occurred frequently. For instance, after a reduction of 0.5 TWh in 1983, hydroelectric production rose again in 1984 and 1986. The greatest positive change was observed in 2002 with an increase of 2.3 TWh, but this was closely followed by a downturn of 0.8 TWh in 2003. The last decade shows a similar pattern with alternating periods of increase and decrease. 2016 marked the largest recent increase in hydroelectricity, adding 2.4 TWh. These fluctuations portray a lack of consistent progression, underscoring the need for a more reliable strategy in developing low-carbon, green and sustainable electricity in Nigeria.