Govt may stop Katsina energy project over insecurity

Prof Chinedu Nebo21 July 014, Abuja – The Federal Government is planning to stop the renewable energy project in Katsina State because of insecurity in the state, the Minister of Power Prof Chinedu Nebo has said.

Nebo told The Nation that the project in the Northeastern state had been delayed for over one year due to the security challenges, lamenting that even the technical person handling it was kidnapped.

Under this prevailing circumstance, he said the government was left with no  option but to stop the project.

He said: ‘’There are problems relating to the implementation of the renewable energy projects in Katsina. “The major one is the kidnapping of the technical person handling the project a year ago. Those assigned to handle the project said they cannot go ahead, unless the security situation improves. “The Ministry of Power has stepped into the matter. We want to cancel the contract, in spite of the fact that it is 97 per cent completed. But, again, it is the security that has forced us down.‘’

Nebo said the suppressed electricity demand is higher in the country what is being generated now.

‘’Right now, the suppressed demand in the country is so huge, compared to what we are generating. If we quadruple our generation and distribution capacity, it would not be enough for the whole country. In view of this, we are encouraging more Nigerians to build more plants to improve the supply of electricity and grow the economy,’’ he added.

He stressed the need to create an enabling environment to grow the sector, stressing that more investors would come when there is a stable economic climate.

He said the more plants are built, the less the pressure on them to produce certain amount of electricity. He explained that power from the grid was falling, due to gas problem in the country.

“The sector is experiencing gas problem, a development that culminated in the ability of the power generation companies (GENCOs) to generate electricity and further distribute to the distribution companies (DISCOs),” he said.

He said though the  Ministry of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Resources (NNPC), operators and other relevant agencies had waded into the matter to ensure that enough gas was supplied to fire the turbines for optimal performance, this has not yielded results.

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