• Saturday, June 15, 2024
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Insecurity threatens progress of FG’s 700MW Zungeru power plant

The power sector conundrum

Nigeria’s plan to complete the 700 megawatts Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Station has continued to suffer setbacks, rising insecurity in the North-west forcing workers out of the construction site.

The federal government had set December, 2021 for the completion and inauguration of the project, which is expected to be the second-largest hydroelectric power station in the country, behind the 760 megawatts (1,020,000 hp), Kainji hydroelectric project.

But the plant which is at 90% completion suffered a setback following the attacks on January 4, 2022, where two Chinese nationals working at the site were kidnapped after the guards were killed.

Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, while briefing Journalists at the 31st session of the Media briefing organized by the Presidential Media team, said work has “slowed down at the site, while efforts are on to rescue the Chinese workers”.

The Zungeru power plant, which would have contributed up to 700 megawatts of electricity to the national grid, had remained comatose as the contractors fled the site following the constant attacks.

Aliyu, while speaking on the current epileptic power supply across the country, blamed the development on “reduction in water levels which is usually experienced at this time of the year”.

He assured that the federal government is working assiduously to resolve short term load shedding challenges.

The Minister while also speaking on the metering policy of the government insists that “meters are provided free”.

“We have said this time without numbers that these meters are free. They are instruments for generating money, how can we be selling meters,” the minister said.

The FGN has secured and is executing up to $4 billion in investments in the Grid to ensure more grid power is delivered to citizens.

The Minister, while providing details of electricity supply, said the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry has delivering grid, captive, and embedded power to the tune of almost 8,000MW daily, as against the speculated 4,000MW.

The Minister noted that the nation has an installed capacity of almost 18,000MW not 13,000MW.

“I’d like you also to take away that we deliver 8,000MW of electricity daily through a combination of Grid, Embedded and Industrial Captive supply of Electricity – not 4,000MW as is frequently reported – much of this capacity added during the life of this administration,” Aliyu said.

“These are not my figures; this was an industry study conducted by KPMG recently.”.

He disclosed that these come from 28 grid power plants with Installed capacity of 13,000MW and operational daily capacities of around 5,000MW, with the plants located at Egbin, Ughelli, Geregu and Kainji.

He mentioned other sources including 266 captive power plants with installed capacities of 4,000MW and daily operational capacities of around 2,500MW.

“These include the Dangote Cement Capacities in Obajana Ibese (400MW), and NLNG’s Bonny Island Power Plant (240MW) amongst others,” he said.

“These are never captured in the statistics but are part of the NESI and form our industrial load for jobs. In the future many of these plants will integrate to the grid, in fact some of them supply power to communities they occupy.

Aliyu however assured that the government is working on more firm Gas supply contracts for the Power sector backed by improved liquidity, which will have stiff financial penalties for underperformance.

Read also: Gas rich Nigeria can’t find enough for its power plants

Also giving details on the Siemens Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) the Minister noted that “ the government will bring in an additional $2.0 billion or more to the Transmission Grid.

He disclosed that contracts have been awarded for the construction of 10 transformers and 10 mobile power substations through Siemens which will be delivered soon

“We are working tirelessly to ensure that all of these investments translate to incremental delivered power.

“There are 135 ongoing projects for transmission lines, substations and other associated grid infrastructure. TCN has completed 30 key Substation Projects and 12 important Transmission Lines

He listed other efforts to increase power supply to include Increase energy mix to improve energy security.

“We will complete the Zungeru Hydro plant, the Katsina Wind plant, Kashimbila Hydro as well as ensure the challenges with Gurara are permanently resolved. We are also working to resolve issues that have prevented large On-grid Solar from taking off in Nigeria, he said.