Oscarline Onwuemenyi 09 May 2014, Sweetcrude, Abuja – A Canadian power firm focused on solar energy projects, SkyPower, has announced plans to invest around $5 billion in developing a 3000 mega watts solar-powered electricity facility in Delta State.
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, who announced this at the just-concluded World Economic Forum, WEF, in Abuja, noted that the 3000MW will eventually be transferred to the country’s national grid, but will be initially deployed in Delta, as the state took the first initiative on the project.
“Skypower will deploy first in Delta State which has taken the lead because of the enormous work the state has put in to ensure the realization of the renewable energy programme,” Aganga noted.
Aganga added that the government will speed up the process for license award to boost investment in renewable energy within the country.
SkyPower is one of the largest developers of solar energy projects globally.
Delta state is fast becoming a go-to location for investors within the power sector. Beside the Sky Power investment, Nigerian-owned conglomerate Transcorp has also been in the investment groove since it completed a $300 million takeover of the Ughelli Power Plant, also situated in Delta.
Together with its technical partner, General Electric, Transcorp – largely controlled by Tony Elumelu’s Heirs Holding – will be investing $46 million to raise short term capacity of the plant by 700MW, with plans on the table to increase that number by a further 1000MW within the next few years.
The plant currently holds a generation capacity of 1000MW.
Despite a successful privatization process, which saw over 18 generation and distribution power assets move hands from government to private investors, Nigeria’s power output has seen marginal or no change. Output has lingered between 2,500MW and 4000MW – at its peak delivery – despite an installed capacity of 6000MW. Analysts largely attribute this stagnation to industry and asset neglect as well as under funding and corruption.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is said to be losing billions of dollars in potential foreign investment as well as driving up operating costs for local businesses, and this is largely owing to insufficient energy provision.
According to Nigeria’s Power Minister, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, the country needs at least 20,000MW of energy to meet current local consumption requirement, a far cry from the current progress made so far.