How Important are Mini-grids to Nigeria?

Mini-grids are particularly important within the Nigerian context probably more than in any other part of the world. This is due to two major reasons;

 First is Nigeria’s electricity generation shortfall. That is, the fact that the total amount of power generated nationally is not sufficient for the Nigerian populace. In fact, according to international standards, Nigeria needs to generate about 200,000Mw of electricity to satisfy its electricity demands. Unfortunately, Nigeria is only able to generate about 13,000Mw at its peak; the majority of which is not available for consumption, which leads us to the second reason why mini-grids are very important for Nigeria; transmission problems.

The problem of transmission is probably a  bigger problem than power generation in Nigeria, as the inability to transmit all the power generated means that Nigeria has to waste a lot of power annually. For context, Nigeria transmits only about 5000Mw of electricity out of the around 13,000Mw generated. Hence, if Nigeria would be looking to improve power generation through the main grid, it would have to improve its transmission too. This would dramatically improve the costs of improving the power supply in Nigeria, complicating an already bad problem. Asides from that, it would most likely leave a lot of rural areas in darkness, as the cost of establishing transmission facilities in such places would be far more expensive.

In short, Mini-grids are important and provide a viable alternative because they are;

  • Relatively cheap
  • Sustainable
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Flexible; and
  • Faster to build.
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