Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, Kaduna State governor, has said that the 19 northern states and the federal capital territory are committed to achieving 4000MW off-grid electricity by 2023 through the building of 100-megawatt solar plants.
Speaking at the ninth Nigeria Energy Conference, on Wednesday, the former director of the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) said the Northern State Governors Forum (NSGF) has recognised the availability of renewable energy sources in the region and is tapping into it.
He said: “In recognition of this, the NSGF has incorporated a special purpose vehicle, the northern Nigeria renewable energy company.
“Kaduna state has already provided about 200 hectares of land that is needed for the 100-megawatt solar farm expandable to 200 megawatts in addition to ten other northern states,” he said. “We hope to achieve financial closure before the end of October and we hope to commission some of these plans before May 2023.”
El-Rufai said the project is expected to be mostly off-grid to avoid overburdening the perennially national weak transmission network.
“In addition, Kaduna state is also building two 100 megawatts and 150-megawatt grid-connected solar power plants with private sector partners.
“The Kaduna state government has also acquired two gas-powered turbines for an 84-megawatt thermal power plant, and they are expected to be shipped into the country shortly,” he said. “This will add to the existing capacity for power generation in the state through the 250 MW plant in Kudenda, which is nearing completion and the 30MW from Gurara Hydroelectricity Dam, both owned by the Federal Government.”
However, the governor said they are in discussions with the Federal Government for the concession of these two power plants to its state power supply company.
“We want to dedicate the entire 300 or so megawatts to Kaduna state.”
He said the state is committed to deploy more sustainable and environmentally friendly energy.
“All the streetlights and traffic lights deployed under urban renewal program in Kaduna state are solar-powered, and they use light emitting diodes (LEDs) instead of the traditional high energy lamps.
El-Rufai said the solution to the enduring electricity supply deficits in Nigeria is a three-way collaboration between the Federal government, state governments and the private sector.
He said the Nigerian Governors Forum believes the collaboration will play a vital role in the expansion of generation, transmission and distribution capacity in the country, in a soundly regulated environment that is market driven.
“The contour of failure in the power sector stands in painful contrast to the outstanding success we have made on the reforms in the telecom sector.
“The Federal Government had about $1.5 billion from the auction of telecom licences alone, not to mention the tax revenues that have since accrued,” he said.
He reiterated that giving states the power to establish individual electricity markets will open up opportunities and create more competitive sub-national electricity markets.
“So the state governments are willing and able to come to the aid of the Federal Government in addressing these power challenges. But the solution ultimately is to have a power sector reform act that addresses the problems of the sector, so that we will be able to attract private investment.”