Powering our devices and driving our economy, electricity is essential 2023

American vocalist Ray Charles wonders, “What is a soul?” It is similar to electricity in that it is a mysterious power that may illuminate a room. Christopher Flavin, the former president of an independent research group specializing in natural resource and environmental concerns, confirms this and claims that electricity’s true potential lay not in delivering social luxuries, but in driving long-term economic growth. Being a crucial component of the national sector, electricity is a significant source of progress and development in people’s living standards through boosting other sectors like as health, education, commerce, and industries. This article begins with Nigeria and focuses on how technology benefits the economy when supported by a reliable source of power.

To satisfy consumer demand, a large number of Nigerian families and companies purchased generators in 2008, a source of energy that offered 6,000 MW. The ongoing energy scarcity in Nigeria has impacted the nation for numerous years. In 2022, for instance, its electrical grid failed twice in a single week.

Statistics indicate that over forty percent of Nigerian homes own and utilize generators for their daily electrical needs. Due to inadequate power supply from the national grid, this indicated that the affected families spend around $14 billion yearly on generator fuel.

In addition, the research titled “Nigeria’s State of Power: Electrifying the Nation’s Economy” indicates that the excessive amount these households spent on fueling their generators had a negative impact on their spending and stunted the growth of their businesses. Hence, Nigeria’s lack of dependable energy supply is a significant impediment to the nation’s economic progress. Big and small enterprises rely heavily on self-generated energy, which inhibits their ability to expand.

Renewable energy sources are all around us and offer a way out of import dependence, allowing countries to diversify their economies while driving inclusive economic growth. Among the benefits of energy economics are cost-effective energy efficiency enhancements that can have beneficial macroeconomic effects, hence enhancing economic activity and frequently resulting in greater employment. Energy efficiency decreases the amount of energy used to provide services such as transportation, lighting, heating, and cooling.

However, the electricity generation industry in Nigeria is currently facing a number of obstacles, including infrastructure constraints across the entire value chain from fuel to power distribution link, fixed energy sources for electricity (80% thermal and 20% hydro), insufficient gas pipelines, obsolete generation plants and equipment, and inadequate and poorly maintained transmission and distribution networks. All were made worse by vandalism. Hence, we must evaluate how electricity generation will evolve; the use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power remains one of the fastest-growing ways to provide greener, cleaner electricity. This implies that, in order to cut carbon emissions and attain net zero, more areas of our life that previously relied on fossil fuels will have to switch to electricity.

Similarly, in The Effect of Electricity on Economic Development: A Macroeconomic Perspective, Stern, D.I., et al. discuss how electricity contributes to the economy, stating that Energy infrastructure may enhance economic growth and development in numerous ways. First, electricity is a crucial component of production for businesses, which, according to studies, has limited substitutability with other factors of production and, thus, may limit productivity when absent. Second, the state uses energy to provide essential public services, such as education and health care. Thirdly, utilizing electricity may boost household welfare and production efficiency advantages, such as time savings, communication investments, and educational expenditures. Notable is also the fact that energy infrastructure is dependent on other types of infrastructure that complement one another and contribute to broader economic growth.

It is commonly believed in economics that technology is the primary engine of the economic expansion of nations, regions, and cities. Technical advancement enables the efficient creation of more and better goods and services, which are essential to success. Yet, the methods through which technology is created, accepted, and utilized in production are intricate. Their more in-depth examination enables the discovery of new information with implications for several policy domains, including scientific policy, research and development, industrial policy, and national and regional development plans.

In addition, it is important to remember that the two most important ingredients for the development of new technology are codified knowledge (presented as frameworks, scientific research papers, theories, patents, recipes, protocols, routines, and instruction manuals) and tacit knowledge or experience (often acquired through learning by doing in a dedicated process of imitation and repetition, which finds storage only in brains).

Three of the top ten technological trends for the next ten years, according to another article on future technology, are Datafication of the Globe, The Internet of Behaviours (IoB), and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Global data production surpassed 79 zettabytes in 2021 and is anticipated to reach 181 zettabytes by 2026. Data is a fundamental enabler fuelling the majority of technological advancements. Since 2012, the Internet of Behaviors (IOB) has been used to refer to the process of making sense of this enormous amount of data and recognizing its worth using analytics and big data approaches. The second component is Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning — In the next two years, it is anticipated that over fifty percent of human interactions with computers would use AI-generated speech. As a result, customers would expect firms to meet their expectations, particularly regarding customer experience and poor service, much more quickly. By 2031, machine vision, natural language processing, voice and gesture recognition (including emotions), pattern identification, and real-time artificial intelligence will all increase. The third is Edge Computing, a model of distributed computing. Edge Computing and Distributed Computing are two independent but connected technological concepts that will converge in the future years. The processing power of computers and the usage of the industrial internet are growing, but their physical size is decreasing every day. This has included edge computing and multi-cloud architecture in distributed computing. Decentralized computing provides several benefits, including data confidentiality and privacy, lower power and bandwidth needs, and the ability to process and make decisions in near real time. In the upcoming years of hyper-automation and interconnectivity, Edge Computing would give an efficient method for reducing the quantity of data delivered while achieving superior results.

Despite this, the three aforementioned top trends cannot exist without electricity, which plays a significant role in our daily life. China’s electric power sector is the world’s largest generator of electricity, surpassing the United States in 2011 as a result of fast expansion from the early 1990s. China produced more power in 2019 than the United States, India, and Russia combined. Why do you suppose they have the second-highest GDP behind the United States? Our everyday activities rely largely on power at home, school, the local mall, and the office. From waking up in the morning till falling asleep at night, our everyday existence is reliant on electricity. We must now examine how technology fits into each of them.

If we go deeper into the definition of technology in economics, we find that it is everything that helps us manufacture goods quicker, better, or cheaper. There is a considerable probability that when you think about technology, you see tangible objects such as large equipment or quick computers. Yet, when economists discuss technology, they consider new methods of doing things. It is commonly believed in economics that technology is the primary engine of the economic expansion of nations, regions, and cities. Technical advancement enables the efficient creation of more and better goods and services, which are essential to success. US firms contribute heavily to China’s high-tech manufacturing (and exports). Observe that the parameters here are enormous: in 2020, China manufactured 250 million computers, 25 million automobiles, and 1.5 billion cell phones – the relationship with their enormous electrical production becomes clear.

As the second indication of economic growth, technical advancements encompass the entire system of knowledge, organization, and procedures necessary for manufacturing processes. In every manufacturing process, it is feasible to obtain more outputs from the same amount of inputs with the use of technology. Through direct job creation, GDP growth, the introduction of new services and sectors, workforce change, and corporate innovation, technology may benefit the economy. Moreover, increasing energy efficiency can reduce utility costs, provide employment, and help stabilize power pricing and volatility.

A low-hanging method, technology transfer is essential to Africa’s development and remains essential for a country like Nigeria to handle its electrical problems. Universities, corporations, and governments can engage in technology transfer to exchange skills, information, technologies, and manufacturing techniques, among other things. This sort of information sharing ensures that scientific and technical advancements are accessible to a broader variety of users who can contribute to their progress. In addition, we must go forward with technology transfer as we confront future developments.

In conclusion, technology will transform the world during the next 10 years, including machine vision, language processing, speech and gesture recognition, pattern recognition, real-time AI, embedded AI, or machine learning, etc. And a strong grasp of technology for economic growth must rely on a rising electrical supply, preferably from alternative green sources for a cleaner society.

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