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FG urged to step up generation mix

Minster of Power, Prof Barth Nnaji

Ceaseless complaints are pouring in from electricity consumers in Nigeria on the harrowing experiences they face from epileptic and outright non-supply of the service. Even explanations by distribution companies that they can only distribute the electricity they get, or excuses by the Power Ministry that insufficient gas supply and low water levels are to blame for the problem, have also not sufficed.

Time and again, the issue of generation is fingered as the troublesome factor in realising the reform agenda. Many industry stakeholders appear to be united in the thought about seeking alternative sources of electricity generation as the way out. A lecturer in the Department of Electrical/Electronics Engineering, University of Lagos, Dr. Olabisi Oluseyi, is one of such. In a statement, he urged on the government to reduce the over reliance on the national grid to service the electricity need of over 167m Nigerians.

Nigeria’s daily generation currently hovers around 3,000MW to 4,000MW. But the Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji, said in a statement made available to SATURDAY PUNCH that even a substantial improvement in gas supply to the sector at the end of the one-year stipulated period would still not be enough as only about 9,000MW would be technically generated.

Nnaji said the need to utilise the options of renewable energy was being considered by the ministry. He said power generation from the hydro stations had been as its lowest this year because of low water levels, adding that a method to ensure availability of sufficient water in the dams all year round was being devised. “With that, whether there is a near drought in Nigeria or in any part of the West African sub region from where we derive the flood to run the hydro stations, we will still be okay,” Nnaji said.

“The flood gets to its peak every November, while the white flood, which refers to the flood derived from within the Nigerian, gets to its peak in July of every year. We’re hopeful that before the end of July, there will be a remarkable improvement in supply across the nation.” Apart from the hydro stations, he said there would be more gas for the thermal plants in places like Olorunsogo in Ogun State, while the units at the NIPP plant at Ihonvbo in Edo State would soon be inaugurated.

This, he said, would add a minimum of 100MW to the national grid this year, bringing the quantum of power delivered to the grid to 5,500MW. “We take the question of electric power mix seriously,” Nnaji added. “Like the practice in the United States and South Africa, we’re starting a 1,000MW coal-fired plant in Enugu, Kogi and Gombe. Nigeria’s coal is among the best worldwide, as it contains very little sulphur.

“We’re also developing in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources the development of small dams across the country to get off grid electricity and big hydro stations in Zungeru, Gurara and Mambilla.” He said that diversifying the power mix included a soon-to-be inaugurated 10MW wind farm in Katsina, while studies are being done to develop solar energy on a substantial scale, and the possible use of nuclear energy.

From: The Punch

Source: http://www.punchng.com/feature/power-talkback/fg-urged-to-step-up-generation-mix/