Climate Change Hypocrisy Exposed – New Coal Fired Power Plant For Niger In Africa

Posted on Wed 07/16/2014 by


TonyfromOzProfileImageBy Anton Lang ~

Image Credit - worldatlas

Image Credit – worldatlas

Recently, a new coal fired power plant was proposed for the Country of Niger in Africa. (This Country should not be confused with the larger Country of Nigeria) The article detailing this proposed new power plant is at this link.

I can see green heads across the World exploding with this news, with their thoughts that this will only add to the further emissions of Carbon Dioxide, (CO2) and that Countries, even in Africa, should be looking at ways of introducing power plants that do not add further to those CO2 emissions, and preferably constructing Renewable Power Plants.

However, when we look in detail at the power generation in Africa, we see some startling facts about how little electrical power they actually do have.  The total population of the whole of the African Countries, and there are 58 of those Countries, comes in at 1.15 Billion people, and in fact, probably close to 600 Million people or even more have no access whatsoever to any electrical power, let alone the readily accessible and well regulated supply which we in the Developed World take so utterly for granted.

So then, would this proposed coal fired plant add much to that poor access to electrical power? After all, it’s only a relatively small plant of just one Unit, and the Nameplate Capacity is only 600MW.

Here in Australia, recently, the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Professor Jeffrey Sachs was here telling Australians that we need to move closer towards a low Carbon economy. One of the things he said was the following: (my bolds)

Actually poorer countries have wonderful options because the price of photo-voltaics is falling so sharply, places like Mali. Actually the low-cost solution is off-grid photo-voltaic power. The fact that we can now put solar panels for pumps for irrigation, for refrigeration, for cold chains, for vaccines, for running schools, for allowing remote schools to be online. Those poor countries have options.

When I read this, I went and had a look to see if something like what he proposes, small scale Solar PV power was of any use to whole Countries, like Mali, in this case.

What I found that was Mali has a total power generation of 520GWH (GigaWattHours) per year, and while that sounds like quite a lot, it is a very small amount of generated power. Mali has a population of 15.5 Million people.

So, how much power is 520GWH? I went and had a look for somewhere in Australia which has a power consumption of around this same amount of power.

Dubbo, NSW (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dubbo, NSW (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That place was Dubbo, a small city in Central New South Wales, and it has a population of around 40,000 people. Note the difference here. In the Developed World, one small city with a tiny population (in comparison) consumes the same amount of electrical power that is being generated for a whole Country like Mali with its 15.5 Million people, 387 times more people than Dubbo has.

So I invented “the Dubbo-scale” and went hunting to see which African nations have less power generation than Dubbo. (Which is roughly the same size as Bozeman, Montana, in the US, or smaller than Cupertino city California, or Mentor, Ohio or Perth in Scotland.)

The exercise for me was then to find power consumption figures for African Countries, and to detail all those Countries with equal or less power generation than what is consumed by Dubbo.

This link provides that information. This is from the U.S. EIA (Energy Information Administration) and it details power generation data for all Countries, and here, I have just opened the data up at the page for Africa. From the data at this link, I then drew up a chart listing all those African Countries that have close or lower power generation than the power consumed by the city of Dubbo in Australia.

There are 23 Countries on this list. I have shown the name of the Country, the population of that Country, and the total power generated by that Country. At the top of the list, I have included that city of Dubbo, as the first reference.

At the bottom of the list of African Countries, I have then added up the total population and added up the total power generation. I then found an equivalent Australian city which consumes around the same amount of power as that generated by all 23 of these African Countries. That city is Adelaide, the Capital City of the State of South Australia here in Australia.

Then under that I have shown the total population and electrical power generation for all of Australia, and under that the population and total power generated in all of Africa.


Not one of those African Countries has equivalent power generation even closely comparable in scale to the power consumed in Dubbo, not even the tiny Countries reliant on the tourist trade, where availability of power is requisite to cater for those tourists.

However, compare every other Country with the power consumed by a relatively small sized city in the already Developed World. In all of those African Countries, there would be little power to support even just the Capital Cities, perhaps barely even parts of those Capital cities, and outside of those major cities, there would be no electrical power whatsoever.

What is most stark is the comparison with the total power generation for those 23 Countries, the equivalent City being Adelaide. Those 23 Countries have a total population 123 times larger than Adelaide. In fact, there are only 14 Countries in Africa which generate more power than Adelaide consumes, and none of those Countries is anywhere even close to the rate at which power is being consumed in Adelaide.

Note here again that I have not specifically picked out Adelaide in Australia as the only place where power consumption is at this level. This total is approximately the same for all large cities of similar sized population in the already Developed World. For the U.S. similar cities would be Dallas and San Antonio in Texas and San Diego in California. For Europe, similarly populated cities would be Prague in The Czech Republic, Milan in Italy, and Munich in Germany. Note also that each of these cities would consume more electrical power than the combined 23 Countries shown on that table above, and their total population comes in at 142 Million.

Note here the total power generation for Australia, 235TWH. Only ONE Country in the whole of Africa generates more power than Australia, and that total is only marginally larger. That Country is South Africa which generates a total of 243TWH. However, when population is taken into account, South Africa has a population of 55 Million people, well more than double that of Australia. The next highest power generation in Africa is Egypt, which generates 150TWH, barely two thirds of Australia’s total, and this is for 82 Million people, almost 4 times the population of Australia. These are the only 2 Countries in all of Africa to generate more than 100TWH per year. The Most populous Country in Africa is Nigeria, and that Country only generates 27TWH of power, just more than 10% of that being generated in Australia. However, the population of Nigeria is 180 Million people, a factor of 8.2 times higher than Australia.

So, the question still remains. Is a power plant like the new coal fired plant proposed for Niger of any real impact here with respect to the power being generated?

As I mentioned, this proposed power plant for Niger is just one single unit of 600MW Nameplate Capacity. At normal operational capability, this one plant will deliver 4.6TWH of power each year, and that’s the same as 4,600GWH. So, in fact, this one unit will increase power generation in Niger by a factor of 15.3. The capital city of Niger is Niamey, and it’s worth noting here that the population of Niamey is around 1.3 Million people, which is larger than that of Adelaide, and those other cities in the Developed World of around the same population size.

In fact, under normal operation, each year, this one proposed 600MW unit will generate 75% of the power now being generated in all 23 of those Countries.

In Australia, the Bayswater, power plant was made in the early 1980′s and has 4 units, each of 660MW. Each year it delivers 17,000GWH of power. This single power station generates almost three times the total power being produced in all of these 23 countries. In Australia, we have 7 large scale power plants around the same sized power output as Bayswater.

So, I’m quite happy to hear of green heads exploding when they read of a new coal fired power plant being constructed, because there is no better place to build one than in Africa. Green protests take hypocrisy to all new heights. This green dream of theirs is that they allow no new coal fired power plants anywhere, and to close down existing plants because of so called CO2 emissions causing dangerous Climate Change. So, in effect, the end result of their green dream is that we go back and live like these African people are already living right now. Who are we to deny these people in Africa access to the electrical power that we take so utterly for granted, most especially those green supporters who take advantage of that ready access to electrical power, and in the same breath seek to deny hundreds of millions of people that same access that they already have.

This article also appears at the JoNova site in Australia at this link, and if you visit, the Post also has relatively open commenting  at the bottom of the Post.

Anton Lang uses the screen name of TonyfromOz, and he writes at this site, PA Pundits International on topics related to electrical power generation, from all sources, concentrating mainly on Renewable Power, and how the two most favoured methods of renewable power generation, Wind Power and all versions of Solar Power, fail comprehensively to deliver levels of power required to replace traditional power generation. His Bio is at this link.