• Friday, February 23, 2024
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FG to harness regional potential in addressing crisis in power sector

Nigeria faces N1.6 trn power tariff shortfall, minister warns

The Federal Government has disclosed plans to harness energy potential in the different regions to address inadequacies in the nation’s electricity sector.

Adebayo Adelabu, minister of Power, stated this during the annual workshop organized by the Power Correspondents Association of Nigeria, in Abuja on Thursday.

According to the minister, power generation in the North can be powered through solar energy, mini hydro power plants in the Middle belt and the Southwest, hybridized with solar while the coastal States will be identified for wind energy utilization.

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Representing the minister, Nosike Emmanuel, the Director of the transmission service department of the Federal Ministry of Power said that with the liberalization of the sector, Nigerians will soon start to experience the objective that led to the Act which is to improve power supply across the country.

He said, “Part of the strategy in our road map is the emphasis on the bottom-up approach, unlike the top-down approach of the past. The implication, of the bottom-up approach, is that we will prioritize Metering, Distribution and Transmission infrastructure. We will focus on Customers down to distribution and transmission infrastructure in the short term, this is to ensure that a significant portion of what is generated currently gets to the end users.

“We will also pay attention to the generation segment, particularly in areas of distributed (bimini-grids from renewable energy sources, while at the same time, advancing baseload power through thermal and hydro plants in the medium to long term. We will further explore our regional energy potential. We will focus on solar energy in the North, mini hydro power plants in the Middle belt and the Southwest, hybridized with solar while our coastal States will be identified for wind energy utilization.

Speaking further, the minister noted the provisions of the 2023 Electricity Act which liberalized electricity generation, transmission and distribution as well as empowered States, Organisations and even individuals to generate, transmit and distribute electricity.

“Under this Act, the State government can issue licenses to private investors to operate power plants and mini-grids, within the States. Private investors can also obtain licenses for generation, transmission, system operations, trading, distribution and supply.

“The Act also encourages the integration of renewable energy technologies into the existing grid system while licensees are expected to meet renewable energy obligations as stipulated by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission,” he said.

The minister also noted the provision for incentives for investment in the sector. Such incentives according to him include feed-in-tariffs which guarantee a fixed price for renewable energy fed into the grid and tax incentives for investors.

He said that to ensure a level playing field for all players in the sector and prevent anti-competitive practices, the Act also provides clear guidelines for the licensing, monitoring and supervision of market participants.

In his remarks, Obas Esiedesa, Chairman, of PCAN, said the Electricity Act 2023, has prescribed far-reaching changes to how the sector has been governed in the past, especially the devolution of power to the states.

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“We believe that the current position of the Act requires strong regulatory bodies to ensure the safety and efficient management of the industry.

“On November 1, 2013, the Federal Government handed over the distribution and most generation assets to the private sector, marking the beginning of private investment into the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry. Since then, expectations raised by the entrance of private entrepreneurs into the sector have largely remained unmet.

“We believe that transmission and distribution networks remain the biggest obstacles to efficiency and effective electricity supply in the country.

“We call for sincerity on the part of the government in the implementation of this new initiative unlike what we have seen in the Siemens project and quite a handful of other projects,” he said.