A Significant Portion of Nigeria’s Population is Still Without Access to Electricity

A Significant Portion of Nigeria’s Population is Still Without Access to Electricity

Nigeria has a very different story than most of the countries that Climate Scorecard reports on. As a developing country, Nigeria still has large segment of the population living without access to electricity. In 2018, 56.5% of the country’s population had access to electricity, an undoubtedly low figure when compared to global levels of 89.6% (Figure 1). This lack of access is in large part due to poor public infrastructure in rural areas with only 22.62% of rural populations having a source of electricity. However, even with this context, Nigeria’s total electricity consumption has increased from 10.8 Terawatt hours (TWh) in 1990 to 30.8 TWh in 2018 (Figure 2). A majority of that increase occurred in the last ten years after levels jumped from 16.2 TWh in 2009 to 30.8 TWh in 2018.

Figure 1: Own manipulation of World Bank Data

Figure 2: Own manipulation of IEA Data

Given that nearly 45% of the country does not have access to electricity, a lot of Nigeria’s energy supply is sourced from biofuels and waste. In fact, over 75% of Nigeria’s total energy supply comes from these two sources alone. Aside from biofuels and waste, oil supplies 13.7% of the country’s energy. There is a lack of renewable resource energy in Nigeria, with only 0.35% of its energy supply coming from hydro and 0.001% coming from wind or solar. Renewable energy makes up such a small portion of energy supply that, when depicted in a graphic such as figure 3, it simply does not show up. Below figure 3 is a table breaking down the makeup of the country’s energy supply.

Figure 3: Own manipulation of IEA Data

Type of Energy % of Total Energy Supply (ktoe)
Crude Oil 0.980
Coal 0.020
Natural Gas 9.900
Hydro 0.350
Oil Products 13.700
Wind, Solar, etc. 0.001
Biofuels and Waste 75.050

Total Energy Supply in Nigeria: IEA Data

Since Nigeria exports a significant amount of its oil reservoirs to other countries, they can be categorized as a net exporter of energy. In 2018, Nigeria exported 97.2 Mtoe (a lower figure than its 2004 levels of 130.6 Mtoe).

Figure 4: Own manipulation of IEA Data

In 2020, the Nigerian government set forth some goals and new policies regarding energy supply and consumption. As noted earlier, a significant portion of the country does not have access to electricity so in order to further develop the country, they need to increase this access. On top of that, a minuscule amount of their energy supply comes from renewable resources. In order to mitigate these issues, the government has set a goal of introducing solar panels to 5 million households that currently do not have dependable access to energy. The government has also announced that it will remove all subsidies from fuel. If this is to be legislated, the government will likely save at least $2 billion per year and will undoubtedly incentivize the use of renewable energy in the country.


The recommendation is simply to follow through with the goals recently put in place by the government. By bringing solar power to over 5 million homes, they can accomplish two goals simultaneously: increase overall access to electricity and decrease the dependence on non-renewable sources. If the government were to actually accomplish this, it would be a significant step forward for renewable electricity in Nigeria.


Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission Head Office

Email: info@nercng.org

Learn More

World Bank Data: https://data.worldbank.org/

IEA Data: https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics

Carbon Brief Profile

This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Nigeria Country Manager Peter Hansen

Image Source: https://www.nigeriaelectricityhub.com/2017/08/31/nigerias-renewables-market-opportunities-and-development-for-solar-pv/

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