23 December 2014, Abuja – If all things go as planned, President Goodluck Jonathan will next year approve commencement of work at three coal-fired power plants located across the country, Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo has disclosed.
Nebo who disclosed this in Abuja, also explained that balancing Nigeria’s dependence on thermal generated electricity with other sources of electricity like solar, biomass, wind and other sustainable alternative sources has been a challenge that the country is still finding difficult to manage.
He said at a meeting with journalists that Jonathan is expected to launch the power projects but did not mention the actual projects.
It is however believed that the coal power plants could be the 3000 megawatts (MW) plant that is being developed by Zuma Power in Kogi state and the 1000MW plant expected to be built by Atlas Petroleum Corporation in Enugu state.
The federal government recently said about 2.8 billion metric tonnes of coal deposits are left untapped for years now in Nigeria.
The government also stated that the use of these coal deposits, amongst other renewable energy sources to generate electricity for Nigeria can alleviate instances of vandalism of petroleum pipelines which supply gas to thermal power plants.
Nebo had noted that the country’s abundant coal, biomass, solar, wind and small hydro could provide possible insurance to deal with vandalism of pipelines. He explained while signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Atlas Petroleum Corporation for a coal-to-power plant that Nigeria needs to harness all its potentials in developing her power sector.
The MoU was earlier signed with the promoter of the project, and Chairman of Atlas Petroleum, Chief Arthur Eze, who also said that the company has the competence to deliver on the project.
But at the meeting, Nebo said: “There is no way our country will do a good job in providing electricity in the right quantity and quality for our people depending on only one source of generation, it is not possible.
He added: “We have an incredible supply of coal that is untapped coal deposit in Nigeria can give us more than 5000 megawatts which is more than what we are generating at this moment.
We are working to make sure that coal is utilised very well and we are hoping that by next year, the president will flag-off construction at least two or three coal fired power plants in the country.”
The minister equally explained that getting Nigerians to embrace the use of other alternative sources of energy like solar to power their homes has always been a challenge to the ministry.
He noted that selling to Nigerians the potentials in other alternative sources of energy was becoming a hard task to accomplish and therefore emphasised the importance of taking such message to rural parts of Nigeria.
– This Day