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Modelling low carbon transition scenarios for Nigeria

Student Name: Mr Michael Obiora Dioha
Guide: Prof. Atul Kumar
Year of completion: 2020


Energy is an essential element for socio-economic development, but its generation and utilisation releases greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions which contributes to climate change. Owing to the growing concerns about the impacts of energy-related emissions on the climate system, countries across the world are challenged to develop sustainable energy systems in order to mitigate climate change. The energy system of Nigeria—a developing country situated in western Africa, is dominated by traditional biomass and fossil fuels. However, Nigeria continues to have a large percentage of its population living in extreme poverty; indicating the need for development as the most important priority for the government. Undoubtedly, energy consumption of Nigeria and the resultant GHG emissions will continue to increase in the future due to its yearning for socio-economic development and the projected population increase. Hence, Nigeria faces the dual problem of reducing its GHG emissions and improving the general welfare of its citizens. Satisfying unmet energy demand and ensuring rapid economic development without compromising environmental sustainability remains a challenge for Nigerian policymakers. The way forward is a transition to low carbon energy development.

The overall aim of this thesis is to explore low carbon development scenarios for Nigeria. This thesis seeks to increase the evidence-based underpinning energy and climate policy decisions in Nigeria. In doing this, an attempt has been made in this thesis to develop an economy-wide techno-economic model for the energy system of Nigeria, based on the Integrated MARKAL-EFOM System (TIMES) modelling framework, for the timeframe 2010—2050. The thesis also introduced dedicated energy models for the residential and transport sectors based on the same modelling framework. It builds and compares robust, comprehensive policy scenarios, thereby providing a platform to examine the implications of different future energy and emissions scenarios for the Nigerian economy. It also shed lights on the co-benefits of energy system transitions in Nigeria.

Results indicate profound changes in the Nigerian energy system. The results suggest that Nigeria could significantly reduce its energy consumption and corresponding GHG emissions if the existing policies are fully implemented. The results also suggest that nuclear energy could become one of the cheapest options to decarbonise the Nigerian energy system. For the long-term perspective, the results suggest that energy efficiency is one of the cost-effective measures to deliver emissions reduction; biogas and electricity are likely to be the most significant cooking fuels for Nigerian households in the context of a low carbon future; prompting the need for a detailed reassessment of the current National Renewal Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy (NREEEP) which seeks to move all households to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) by 2030. The results further indicate that significant changes are required in the transport sector as one policy pathway is not enough to decarbonise the Nigerian transport by 2050. Portfolio of policies are need to deliver deep emissions reduction in the transport sector.

To keep Nigeria on the path of low carbon development while improving energy access and security, the federal government of Nigeria has pledged to develop decentralized solar PV in the country. However, for effective deployment of decentralized solar PV in the country, a good knowledge of its techno-economic viability is needed. This thesis developed a methodology to estimate the technical potential of rooftop solar PV for urban residential buildings in Nigeria. It also examined the financial attractiveness of the technology. The results indicate that the potential of rooftop solar PV in urban residential buildings of Nigeria is around 156.7 GWp. The results suggest that rooftop solar PV is not financially attractive for consumers in the two lowest tariff categories of household (R1 and R2).

The thesis also extends the knowledge of low carbon development to the non-energy sector. The agriculture sector accounts for around 28% of Nigeria‘s GHG inventory. Therefore, quantitative assessments for low carbon development in the country should not be restricted to the energy sector. This thesis used the Agricultural and Land Use (ALU) inventory software to examine different scenarios for low carbon development in the country. The results indicate that efforts which succeed in manipulating the diet of livestock may well turn out to be the most profound option for mitigating GHG emissions in the Nigerian agriculture sector.

Finally, the thesis argues that robust and dedicated policies will be needed for Nigeria to reduce its national GHG inventory and thus, outlines a set of policy perspectives that could transcend Nigeria in the path of low carbon development.