It's the Environment, Stupid.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

New power in Nigerian city

According to a World Bank Press release, Aba, Nigeria is getting the country's first Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project.

"Aba Clean Energy Carbon Project will construct an efficient, gas-fired power plant, which will displace the electricity and steam currently being generated by industrial and large commercial enterprises in the City of Aba. Residents and business enterprises say that the current grid is over-stretched and unreliable and many of them have their own on-site diesel generators to supply their energy needs...This new initiative will introduce an efficient co-generation unit that will reduce GHG emissions that are responsible for climate change—the power plant will have dual-fuel turbines that will primarily use natural gas backed-up by diesel facilities in case of gas pipeline interruption."

"By providing reliable electric supply to this cluster and its industrial customers, the Aba project would make industrial production cheaper, with related benefits to the Nigerian economy. Residential customers would also benefit from the project as reliable power supply would make day-to-day life easier for local residents."

The developer of the project is a private Nigerian company, Geometric Power Limited. The project is anticipated to generate carbon credits for Nigeria that they can sell on the market as part of the CDM aspect of the Kyoto Protocol. There are also several other elements to this including the addition of street lights, a school, and a medical clinic for the community.

I think it will be a good thing if this project is able to provide consistent power to the city and the benefits are realized as anticipated once the project is completed. However, it is still a centrallized power structure, and it still relies on natural gas which needs to be piped in. While this is clean, it gets back to the issue of energy security, as well as the issue of cost recovery for operator of the system. It is unclear from the press release as to whether the developer will also be responsible for managing, distributing, and maintaining the infrastructure/power. It is also unclear as to how the pricing/distribution structure will be set up, and whether or not individuals will actually stop using their on-site diesel (CO2 emitting) generators. I would also like to think the World Bank has other infrastructure planned as far as transportation systems and affordable housing, and other things that might become stressed if this stable power supply is as effective at boosting the industrial production economy as predicted.


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