13 Feb

Whenever the issue of alternative sources of power is discussed, one notices a glaring tendency. In such discussions, renewable sources of energy like solar, biomass, and wind are enumerated as worthy of concerted trial by the government and the people of Nigeria. Sadly, no one seems to remember energy efficiency and conservation as a veritable sucker punch that could knock out the power monster our nation is currently facing. Perhaps, it is the offshoot of the systemic dysfunction; of course, with energy efficiency project, there would be no major contract to be awarded and no foreign loan to be negotiated. But the reality is that among the renewable energy sources our government may grudgingly deploy, energy efficiency has the better and faster promise.
Energy efficiency means doing more with less; so we maintain – or exceed – performance while saving both energy and money. An efficient air conditioning system will keep you cool with less electricity and a car with better fuel economy will require fewer fill-ups while still getting you where you need to go. Energy efficiency can help meet the country’s growing demand for energy just as well as oil, gas, coal, solar, wind and hydro. It is the fastest, cleanest and most economical energy resource we have.
How does energy efficiency work? Take that 100watts light bulb as our example. What we want from the light bulb is the light, but in the process of lighting the bulb with electricity, heat is also generated. This is typical of the incandescent tungsten bulb which burns the filament to give off illumination. So, unless we are counting on the bulb for warming us up, the energy is wasted. Energy efficient light bulbs, on the other hand, provide us with the same light, but with less loss of energy to heat. Therefore, the heart of energy efficiency is simple: we get the same results but with less energy wasted. So, if the extra energy saved is cumulatively pushed over for another use, it has then saved the cost for the generation of the energy needed.
Let us look at a graphic example. If the residents of Lagos State for instance, save 10MW of electricity through energy efficiency in their household appliances, it can be assumed that there is extra 10MW of electricity available, which can be given to, say Ogun State, to add to its power grid. In this instance, Ogun State does not need any power plant to generate 10MW anymore; they just pick up the power handed down from Lagos. And how does this help the environment? Simple, every power plant by virtue of the use of fossil fuel to run emits green house gas into the atmosphere, thereby adding to global warming. If then, no power station is constructed to produce the already existing 10MW from Lagos State, it means that carbon has been saved from polluting the atmosphere. What is more? Nigeria has thereby saved the money that would have been used for constructing the 10MW power plant.
An indigenous private firm has scientifically demonstrated the applicability of this module in our very shores. Between March 1 and May 2, 2012, All Sorts Shop Warehouse Limited, in conjunction with the Power Holding Company of Nigeria and Little Bridge Consultants, carried out a study in Oduduwa community, in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State. The study indicated that the distribution of 500 TCP compact fluorescent lamps reduced the load on the community’s overloaded 300 KVA transformer from 151 per cent to 131 per cent (a reduction by 20 per cent, which instantly stopped the constant tripping of the transformer). In addition, the study revealed that 86.6 per cent power was conserved by exchanging 60W bulbs with 11Watts TCP cfls; the sum of N6,733,120 would be saved by the 714 families in Oduduwa community over a period of 10 years; and about 508.8 IB of carbon dioxide was prevented from entering the atmosphere.
In view of the result of the Oduduwa experiment, the stakeholders then designed a project tagged “Go Green Nigeria Light Up Nigeria”, aimed at injecting 100 million TCP cfls into the Nigerian energy consumer population within a space of four years. The extrapolated calculation is that at the end of the campaign, 7,013 MW of power would be saved; N1.35tn saved over 10 years; and 101,760,000 IB of carbon dioxide avoided (which is equivalent to taking 430,000 cars off the roads and planting 17,354,000 trees).
Energy efficiency or the “Green Initiative” is a huge opportunity to be used in creating jobs in Nigeria. There are many Nigerian professionals, at home and abroad, who can implement these ideas. The government must not concentrate only on power generation. The way it works is that Energy Efficiency campaigns should be aimed at changing habitual energy behaviour and investment behaviour of individuals and organisations: from construction to illumination. Barriers to energy efficiency need to be analysed to formulate effective campaigns addressing usage behaviours and utilising policy frameworks to promote private/commercial efficiencies. In the United Kingdom, United States, South Africa, Germany, Middle East, Ghana, etc, thousands of jobs have been created through the Green Initiative.
The United Nations Development Programme is currently engaged in energy efficiency project in Nigeria, but in my opinion, it is too “high up there”, and has not been internalised by the masses who are actually the primary target of such a programme. For an energy efficiency campaign to succeed, it must become a household name, just like other public awareness campaigns like voter registration, etc. This is because according to the UNDP, “the overall objective of the project is to improve the energy efficiency of series of end-use appliances used in residential and public sectors in Nigeria through the introduction of standards and labels and demand-side management programmes.” The UNDP is at this phase of the project focusing on home appliances – bulb, fridge and air conditioning system.
I do not think that too much “grammar” is required in energy efficiency campaigns. Nigeria is a consuming country; and if the government could be able to steer demand to a particular direction through incentives, there is sure to be an immediate result. To its credit, the UNDP has helped the country to prepare the Draft National Energy Efficiency Policy; and has just established bulb testing facilities in the country to be used in ascertaining the quality of imported CFLs into Nigeria. But with the consumer awareness atmosphere here, if concerted efforts are not made to carry the populace along in these laudable milestones, callous businessmen will find a way to wriggle around the law and continue throwing spanner into the works of government’s energy efficient policies.
In the United Kingdom, in order for the government to encourage the citizens to change from incandescent lamps to energy efficient CFLs, it told the people to return their incandescent lamps in exchange for free CFLs. In nearby Ghana, the major strategy the government used to solve the country’s power challenge was by injecting six million CFLs to replace six million incandescent lamps. This way, it avoided the construction of new power plants of 200-240 MW capacity and so save US$3.3m monthly and US$39.5m annually. However, the technology factor is that the United Kingdom has the machine to recycle the returned bulbs and other end-of-life CFLs, while we do not have.
Well, the good news is that the technology lacuna could be filled by the same “Go Green Nigeria Light Up Nigeria” campaign, which just received a CFL recycling plant (the first of its kind in Nigeria) from TCP to enhance the energy efficient bulb project. It is now obvious that this is the kind of private initiative the Federal Government should support because Nigeria is a signatory to the Minamata Convention which seeks to stop the use of mercury by 2020; and therefore needs a robust mercury-mopping process which the recycling plant represents. The CFLs contain some quantity of mercury. Therefore, at the end of the day, not only will the GGNLN safeguard our environment, it will create employment in addition to providing a platform for technology transfer.


Posted by on 13/02/2014 in Uncategorized


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  1. Tito Tobi

    20/02/2014 at 11:33 am

    Thanks, Material…..all the way.


  2. livelytwist

    19/02/2014 at 5:07 pm

    Good one, especially the part about flooding people’s consciousness with the message through simple campaigns. It isn’t uncommon to see incandescent tungsten bulbs left on all day long in Nigeria. In contrast, here in NL, people are conscious about conserving power (even from energy efficient sources). In the office, the toilet is dark. You switch on the lights to go, and switch it back off when you’re done. This is standard practice.

    I’m not a scientist, but perhaps it should be ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY IN NIGERIA, rather than ENERGY EFFICIENCY vs RENEWABLE ENERGY IN NIGERIA? But in the spirit of placing emphasis on a less-talked about “energy efficiency” I understand.


    • Tito Tobi

      20/02/2014 at 11:30 am

      I like your comment, Timi. Truly, Nigerians have poor conservation habits. The 60W bulb in my room is on now at 10am.What can I do? The elderly ones insist it should be on.So much for me posting this….lol.
      Thanks also for not being a scientist, have you watched Dr Who? Dexter’s Labs? ”BETWEEN US”, *whispers* Sometimes I think I’m nuts, so I take solace in writing literature occasionally, so what are you?


      • livelytwist

        20/02/2014 at 11:58 am

        Lol, my mum used to insist on having the lights on too!

        I’m someone who enjoys reading well-thought out and well-written pieces. And, I try to write the same. I think being an engineer enriches your writing, and your love for literature shines through.


      • Tito Tobi

        20/02/2014 at 12:37 pm



  3. Anu

    14/02/2014 at 2:49 pm

    Efficient “initiative”……. way to go, material



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