• Tuesday, March 05, 2024
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BusinessDay

Lafarge, Wartsila, IFC to build 220 MW power plant in Nigeria

power_transformer1Lafarge Africa, Finland’s Wartsila and the World Bank’s IFC have agreed to build a 220 megawatt (MW) gas-fired power plant in Nigeria to boost electricity supplies, they said on Wednesday.

The trio said in a statement their plan was to help fast-track increased power supplies to the national grid and that they expected to provide more electricity to about 1.4 million households. They did not disclose the cost of the project.

Nigeria is reforming its power sector to end chronic outages which are seen as the biggest constraint on business growth in Africa’s biggest economy and one of the main gripes of its 170 million people, who only get power a few hours, or less, a day.

At 4,000 megawatts, Nigeria’s electricity output is a tenth of South Africa’s for a population three times the size. Power supplies last some 4 hours a day in urban centres while many rural areas often get nothing.

The plan is to add a 220 MW power plant to Lafarge Africa’s existing 90 MW plant, which is used mainly for its cement operations in Nigeria.

The plant supplies about 40 MW of excess power already, so once the new plant is built about 260 MW will go to the national grid under a power purchase agreement.

Under the agreement, Wartsila will build and manage the power plant, while Lafarge Africa, the Nigerian arm of the world’s biggest cement maker, will manage the project.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank’s private sector development division, will provide financial support and advisory services.

Nigerian power companies are also expanding, particularly since the government sold several power assets last October under a privatisation programme meant to end decades of blackouts in Africa’s most populous nation.

Local conglomerate Transcorp, with interests in power, oil and gas, has said it will invest $90 million to upgrade the generation capacity of its power plant to 715 megawatts from 463 megawatts.

Energy firm Forte Oil, which paid $132 million to buy a 414-megawatt power plant under the government’s privatisation scheme, is also expanding.