The Russian state atomic energy corporation, Rosatom, which recently signed an agreement with the federal government to develop nuclear training centre has called for the sustainable energy mix in the West African sub-region to address health, agricultural and electricity challenges affecting the sub-region Nigeria inclusively.
The Regional Vice-President of Rosatom, Sub-Saharan Africa, Victor Polikarpov noted that an optimal energy mix should take into consideration the economy, security of supply and environmental impact.
He noted that not many sources could bring together these three factors.
Polikarpov, speaking at the West African Power Industry Convention (WAPIC) held in Lagos and attended by high-profile representatives from South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Italy and the UK, as well as by global energy companies, said “Hydrocarbons are economically viable but very bad for the environment, and natural phenomena can disrupt energy generation via renewables”
During a discussion on energy development in West Africa, experts discussed possible options for the region’s future energy mix. According to a report by the World Bank, more than 600 million people do not have access to electricity on the African continent.
Nuclear is one of the only power sources that is capable of ticking all three boxes and balance any energy mix.
He said, “In order to combat the current energy challenge faced by West African countries, the region needs access to affordable and clean baseload power.”
Polikarpov highlighted that outside of South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa only generates 28 GW of power. This has had a severe economic impact on business development in the region.
The World Bank estimates that power outages reduce the GDP growth of Sub-Saharan countries by 2.1 per cent per year.
As mentioned by Polikarpov, less than 50 percent of households in Nigeria have access to electricity, businesses in the country continue to struggle to gain access to the grid. “The country is spending huge sums of money every year to run off-grid diesel generators, which negatively affect the environment.