I had no idea Nigeria had so much off grid energy

While doing some research for a coming episode of the Environment Variables, I ended up looking up information about Nigeria’s power grid – I knew grid coverage was patchy, but I had no idea, there was so much off site generation. Look at the map below, from the IEA page!

An image from the IEA showing thousands of off grid installations

Most of the time these stand alone systems are oil/diesel burning ones, but this recently changed – CleanTechnica has a good summary below:

Nigeria also suffers from  the lack of a reliable electrical grid. To cope, Nigerians often rely on portable gasoline generators to power their homes and business, Aside from the annoying roar of all those machines, the air in large cities like the capitol city of Lagos is filled with the detritus — fine particulates, nitrogen oxides, and carbon dioxide — that pours from the exhaust pipes of those generators night and day.

When Nigeria’s new president, Bola Tinubu, took office in May, the first thing he did was scrap those subsidies. “The fuel subsidy is gone,” declared in the middle of his 30-minute inauguration speech, according to Bloomberg. Gasoline and diesel prices spiked 175% overnight, disrupting the economics of a nation that depends on portable generators. Prices have risen even further since then.

Clean Technica

The response is really interesting though:

Days after the government ended the fossil fuel subsidies, energy researchers at BloombergNEF revamped their projections and put the country on a path to reach 1.6 gigawatts of solar capacity within a year — about triple the previous forecast. “This could be one of the first markets where off-grid solar begins to really build grid scale volumes,” says Jenny Chase, a solar analyst at BNEF.

Clean Technica

What this means for decarbonising the internet in Nigeria isn’t all that clear to me, but it’s relevant to my day job – if this is thing you’ve looked into, I’d love to hear from you.