Op-Ed: Nigeria Should Exploit Fourth Industrial Revolution
Op-Ed: How the Nigerian power sector can exploit 4IR
+ The passing into law of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) in 2005 was a much-heralded start of a revolution in the power sector, opening it up to private sector investment across the whole value chain and removing it from government monopoly
The reforms in the power sector are happening as the 4IR increases its pace of growth and how it shapes businesses and lives around the world. The fusion of technologies and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), energy storage, quantum computing and many others which define the Fourth Industrial Revolution build up on industrial revolutions before it in increasing the quality of life and raising income levels.
+ The response of the Nigerian power sector to the opportunities presented by the 4IR has been less than satisfactory. This can be understood as the legacy infrastructure in the sector is in dire need of critical upgrading, which will cost huge sums for the companies in the entire value chain. The evolution comes at a time where there are persistent complaints of stranded revenues by the companies and their being declared technically insolvent.
+ However, the off-grid power sector is embracing technologies that are emerging from the 4IR better. Energy storage is a fundamental element of decentralised renewable energy (DRE) solutions and the increasing demand for these solutions is necessitating larger adoption of improved batteries that will serve the needs of consumers. Not only that, DRE companies incorporate remote monitoring and the IoT into their project deployments in order to enable them ensure that they are efficient – whether mini-grids or stand-alone solar solutions.xxxThe DRE sector in Nigeria benefits from having smaller solutions in comparison to the on-grid sector, and does not grapple with legacy infrastructure. This allows it to be able to apply these technologies cheaper than the main grid.
+ The sector’s application of these technologies offers a lot of lessons to the wider power sector in how the technologies of this industrial revolution can enable the companies to deliver power cheaper and more efficiently, thus serving consumers better and maximising the revenues of the companies.
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