By Ayobami Adedinni
The Federal Government is set to add 1,699 megawatts from 21 power projects derived from gas thermal and solar stations to the nation’s power grid by 2017 in a bid to improve power supply in the country. This is also a follow up to the plans of shipping firms and warehouse owners to release 400 seized containers to federal government contractors after the payment of arrears of debt inherited from the immediate past administration.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, stated this at the weekend during a press briefing to report activities in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing one year after assumption of office that the Federal Government was working to complete uncompleted power generation projects to deliver on the incremental power programme of President Muhammadu Buhari’s roadmap of incremental, steady and uninterrupted power.
According to him, “Some of the projects that should start coming to conclusion in 2017 are the 215mw Kaduna Power, 40mw Kashimbilla Power (Hydro), 40mw Gurara I Power (Hydro), 29mw Dadin Kowa Power (Hydro), 10mw Katsina Power (Wind) 1,125mw (14 Solar projects) and the 240mw Emergency Power Project for Afam (Gas).”
Fashola said the ministry was working with power Generation Companies (GENCOs) to ensure increase in their power generation capacity through repairs and maintenance.
He stated that, “the Egbin Power Station which suffered a gas outage as a result of vandalism has restored all its turbines. Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro have increased the number of functional turbines, so they are producing 300mw extra power during this year’s rainy season, more than they did last year.
“As at November 5 2016, reports reaching me from the control center showed a peak generation of 401mw, and this is without the 3000mw lost to gas pipe vandalism. I am aware that efforts are in progress to repair and restore the damaged gas pipelines, and also to fast-track emergency gas supply.”
On Electricity distribution, he reassured that the ministry would continue to work with the Distribution Companies (DISCOs) to improve their customer service and in particular meters supply.
In his words, “As you will have also seen, I have been involved in meter distribution flag offs in Kano, Benin and Sokoto. All told, while there is still work to do, and there is the big problem of liquidity to overcome, the promise ahead looks good, the plans are clear and our resolve to implement is unwavering,” he added.
According to him, “FG with the 2016 budget, the government has started paying the shipping companies and warehouse owners who kept custody of the containers, and the report I received last week indicates that a first batch of about 400 containers will be released to contractors to go out and do their work.
However, Industry analysts have lamented the low power generation in the country saying Nigeria is currently among the lowest power generation countries in the world and far lower than other African countries. According to them, countries with fewer populations have more power generation than Nigeria.
“Countries such as Algeria with population of about 40 million, has about 11,000mw generation; Egypt – about 90 million population generates 24,000mw; Germany with 30 million population generates 120,000mw, South Africa with 60 million population has 40,000mw while Nigeria with 160 million population generates an insignificant 5,000mw.”
They explained that with the slow rate at which power is being generated, Nigeria might not attain its 160,000mw needs in the next 40 years.