By Udeme Akpan
Plans are underway by the Federal Government and other stakeholders to generate additional 14,000 megawatts, mw of power from water (hydro).
The Energy Commission of Nigeria (ECN) and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) disclosed in separate reports that Nigeria has the capacity to generate 14,000mw of power from hydro.
Investigations showed that this comprises large, medium and small scheme hydropower across the country.
Vanguard gathered that this followed the conviction that Nigeria still has great hydro power potential based on current feasibility studies.
Consequently, six new projects have been developed in Taraba, Kaduna, Kwara, Niger and Kano for completion in the next two or three years.
These include the 40mw Kashimbila Hydro Power Plant in Taraba State scheduled to commence work end of 2017 and 3, 050 mw Mambilla Hydropower Project, expected to cost $6 billion in Taraba State.
They include the 700mw Zungeru Hydropower Plant, Kaduna State and Jebba Hydropower Plant in Kwara State.
They also include the Kainji Hydropower plant reconstruction in Niger State as well as Tiga and Challawa IPP in Kano State.
At present, the nation generates a bulk of its electricity from thermal plants, including Egbin, Aba power plant, Afam power plant, Olaoji power plant, Calabar power plant, Egbema power plant, Geregu power plant, Ibom power plant, Ihovbor power plant, Okpai power plant, Olorunsogo power plant, Omogu power plant and Omotosho power plant among others.
Mr. Ade Yesufu, Future Energy Nigeria director disclosed that the nation needs to make substantial investment in the sector.
He said that the nation’s power sector ‘knows what to do, need to stand together and make it happen’.
“I don’t see the current recession as a reason to be negative or even cautious about Nigeria’s economic future. If anything, it has focused Government and industry alike to make sure we get the basics right to stimulate much-needed growth and we need a reliable and affordable power supply to do that.
“The Federal Government’s Nigerian Power Sector Recovery Programme is an important message to the rest of the world that Nigeria is planning significant improvement towards achieving structural economic change with a more diversified and inclusive economy.”
However, the Executive Director of the Association of Nigerian Electricity Distributors, ANED, Barr. Sunday Oduntan, has identified liquidity, huge debt, vandalism and others as the problems of the sector.
“There are some challenges that need to be tackled by many stakeholders, especially the Federal Government, the DISCOs and gas suppliers. These include: lack of liquidity that hampers our operations. Another challenge is energy theft which culminates in leakages and losses.
“The vandalism of facilities that occur too often is also a serious problem that leads to huge deficit. No bank would lend you money unless your business is bankable. Let me re-state for emphasis that this liquidity crisis is a major threat to the power sector. The revenue shortfalls adversely affect the ability of the DISCOs to make capital investments in metering, network expansion, equipment rehabilitation and replacement that are critical for service delivery.”
The Minister of Power; Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola attributed it to lack of sufficient investments in the power sector.
According to Fashola, although the country has expended what may appear sizeable, the money so far spent was inadequate to address the current challenges.
He also noted that in spite of the already installed 12,000MW power capacity, the country is only enjoying about 6,000MW because of sabotage resulting from broken gas pipelines, poor planning of gas supply and evacuation.
“When I hear that we have spent a lot of money on the power sector, I say that we haven’t spent enough money and that is why we are still talking about the need for investments to come in.
“Yes, what we have spent may look sizeable but it doesn’t provide enough power for our consumption as a nation. But I must say that what some people have said about federal government spending on the power sector is not accurate.”