Adebayo Adelabu, Nigeria’s minister of power has disclosed plans to focus on alternate sources of power generation, in a bid to address the nation’s electricity need.
The minister said this on Wednesday during an interactive session with journalists in Abuja.
According to him, the ministry under his leadership will harness hydro, wind and other sources.
“What we are trying to do is to de-emphasis the national grid for now and focus on distributed power. So, we can still generate power and get it down to consumers without passing through the national grid.
“We have some dams that can generate between 500 kilowatt to 5 megawatts, we want to focus on that to generate power to identified locations embedded in the distribution network without passing through the transmission network because the capacity of our transmission is still constrained.
“We also see solar energy, there are a lot of investors that are coming to the ministry, but what we are saying is whoever wants to invest in solar power must identify who the off-takers are off-grid.
“Our focus should be on off-grid power generation and not just solar. We have proposals for offshore wind. We have potential for offshore wind power. In Nigeria, we are a coastal country, from Lekki in Lagos to Ondo, to Delta, Port Harcourt we can have wind farms that can give clean power. So, this is what we want to do.
“While we concentrate on improving the grid and expanding our capacity, we still want to generate power and distribute it to our people so that is what we want to do. So, our strategy will be wrapped around using micro and mini-grids to supply power,” he said.
He decried that previous administrations focused on establishing more power plants and getting power generated, without much emphasis on improving delivery and transmission channels.
“I’m telling you, if our focus is on distribution, infrastructure improvements, and a little transmission, even with the little that we generate today, we will be able to double delivery to the doorsteps of consumers.”
For him, there was a need to adopt a bottom-up approach in addressing the issues in the sector. “what we are adopting is a bottom-up approach, which is delivery focused. The little that we generate, are we able to get it to consumers? So, we are starting from the customer end. People always say it’s a three-segment value chain. I see it as a five-segment value chain, from the gas producers, to the generation to transmission to distribution, then to customers.
“Because customers have issues that we have to resolve. The number one issue is the metre gap that we have to close. If we don’t have metres, we cannot measure and if we don’t measure, we cannot bill, if you don’t bill, you cannot collect, collection is too poor for this industry,” he said.
Adelabu speaking further, disclosed that the Zungeru hydropower will begin operation before the end of November.
“Yes, Zungeru hydropower is ready. The concession has also been approved by the president. So we will start operating Zungeru probably before the end of this month,” he said.
Zungeru hydropower plant is the largest hydropower plant in Nigeria located on the Kaduna River in the Niger state.
The construction works on the power plant started in May 2013. The plant comprises a reservoir at an elevation of 230 metres, and a powerhouse containing four 175 megawatts turbine/generating units for a total rated output of 700 megawatts (MW).