06 November 2012, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – THE Nigerian government has announced its desire to fast-track regional interconnection projects that would boost its generation and transmission capacities and drive economic growth across the West African region.
Former Minister of State for Power, Mr. Darius Ishaku, who stated this in an address at the 7th General Assembly of the West Africa Power Pool, in Abuja, said government had begun work on the reinforcement of transmission interconnection between Nigeria and Niger Republic, as well as the construction of the second 330KV Transmission Interconnection between Nigeria and Benin.
He added that the North Corridor Project to develop a 330KV transmission interconnection between Nigeria, Niger, Benin, Togo and Burkina Faso was also to be included in the updated Master plan.
The minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Dere Awosika, disclosed that President Goodluck Jonathan would this week sign the contracts for the development of Zungeru and Mambilla Hydroelectric projects, including the study for the implementation of the 765KV Super Grid project.
The President had a few months ago approved the implementation of the Super Grid transmission infrastructure, which has the capacity to wheel the nation’s power when the 765KV Super Grid is installed.
“This will make Nigeria have a cutting edge technology which even many advanced countries have not yet acquired. As a government, we are determined to be proactive. Yet, we have resisted the temptation to roll out the drums because Nigeria is still far from where the administration would like it to be, in terms of electricity,” the minister said.
He added that, “In support of reinforcement of interconnection with Niger, the Transmission Company of Nigeria has started reinforcement of the Kainji-Birnin Kebbi transmission line and the upgrading of the Birnin-Kebbi substation.
“On completion, this interconnection would be capable of supporting the electricity export for the North Corridor Project. On the inter power pool level, Nigeria is highly interested in the development of the Calabar-Inga interconnection project that will link the West Africa Power Pool and East Africa Power Pool.”
The Minister also noted that the updated ECOWAS Master Plan identified projects that will reinforce the transmission interconnections and provide additional generation capacities.
“An interesting aspect of the Master Plan is the recommendation that five percent of the national generation should be derived from renewable energy by the year 2020. I think it is about time that West African nations utilise the abundant solar and wind resources at their disposal. Nigeria, as a matter of fact, is working with relevant agencies to surpass this mandate,” he said.
He observed that the WAPP General Assembly was taking place at a time the power sector in Nigeria is undergoing thorough transformation. “The transformation is specifically towards solving the electricity supply deficit that has bedeviled the country for decades,” she added.
According to him, the recent increase in tariff for electric power through the Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO II) was “a bold move that sent strong signals to potential investors especially the Integrated Power Projects (IPPs), which contributes about 50 percent of electricity generation in the country.”
Also speaking at the event, the out-going Chairman of WAPP Executive Board, Dr. Joseph Makoju, noted that the body has been entrusted by the European Union with the responsibility for developing cross border electrification projects between several countries, which has resulted in the implementation of the Ghana-Togo and Ghana-Burkina Faso projects.
“On our march towards the realization of the electricity market, we have developed harmonized procedures for operating the interconnected systems and have developed WAPP market rules and procedures for electricity trading”, Makoju added.
He observed that the mandate of WAPP to integrate the electricity markets of the region was ongoing, adding that the first WAPP priority project to develop transmission and generation has been completed.