20 January 2015, Abuja – The Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil, has said the federal government has upgraded Nigeria’s electricity transmission capacity by an additional 40 per cent growth ratio within the last couple of years.
Wakil noted in a recent statement from the ministry that transmission capacity of the power sector has improved by 40 per cent in line with generation capacity, which he said has also increased owing to massive injection of fund by the federal government into the sector.
While signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Global Business Resources USA for the generation of 50MW of electricity in Abuja and Kano, the minister explained that with the construction of new transmission lines and substations across the country, the capacity of the country transmitting its generated electricity has been upgraded by an additional 40 per cent.
“I am happy to say that power sector has improved tremendously compared with what President Goodluck Jonathan inherited when he assumed office. Records of where we were in generation, transmission and distribution in the electricity value chain have confirmed that the sector is placed on a strong footing for growth and service delivery,” he said.
In the runoff to the privatisation of successor generation and distribution companies created from the unbundling of defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), the country, the country’s transmission network was described as the weakest link in the value chain with a meager wheeling capacity of about 6000MW and unable to convey all the generated electricity to distribution points.
At the earliest periods of government’s reform of the sector, frequent collapse of the transmission network and subsequent power blackout were recorded as a result of such weakness in the system and which prompted the government to muscle up huge funding outlay for its upgrade.
Funding has come in forms of grants, loans and investments from international and regional finance agencies such as the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), and French Development Bank amongst others to total approximately $2.7 billion as funds for expansion of the network.
Loans such as the World Bank’s $700 million, JICA’s $200 million, African Development Bank (AfDB)-$370 million, $1.65 million proceeds from the sale of National Integrated Power Project (NIPP), EXIM China’s $500 million and contractor financed turnkey projects worth $1 billion, all make up the funding outlay within TCN’s disposal.
In a related development, Nigeria’s attempts to diversify her energy sources is gradually beginning to attract attentions from different quarters with the recent disclosure that an indigenous firm, Torrent Energy Limited has concluded plans to build a 30 megawatts waste-to-energy plant to augment electricity generation of the country.
While reports have put Nigeria’s immediate electricity requirement to 40,000MW for it to achieve a near regular power supply to domestic and industrial users in the country, the country currently generates a meager 4500MW on the average to distribute to about 50 per cent of her population that have access to grid electricity.
In their presentations for a proposed waste-to-energy plant at the Ministry of Power in Abuja, both the Managing Director of Torrent Energy, Okey Chidume and its Executive Director, Tudor Mikko stated that the planned 30MW, though not huge, could contribute immensely in boosting the country’s efforts.
According to them, the waste-to-energy technology will utilise extant waste generated in country and which are in abundance to generate electricity for local consumption.
They emphasised that adequate power supply was necessary for economic development and as such the waste-to-power plant has been planned to be a state-of-the-art concept for generation of electricity from waste which allows efficient power generation, efficient waste disposal, and low environmental impact.
“Nigeria is facing rapid growth in energy demand, persistently high-energy prices, and a challenge to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power generation. Despite current efforts, access to electricity still remains low and there is still inability to produce enough electricity to meet demands,” Chidume said.
He further said: “In Nigeria, millions of tons of waste are generated on daily basis, with an estimated ratio of approximately 0.8 kilograms per person per day, and rising.
Out of the total solid waste generated, 30 to 45 per cent is collected, while over 94 per cent is disposed unscientifically.”
He noted that the company intends to latch on that opportunity to generate and distribute municipal electricity to Nigerians.
Chidume equally noted that the plan is to generate electricity for the consumption of the rural, underserved communities at a rate less than what is currently obtained in the electricity market, a development the Assistant Director, Renewable Rural Power Access in the ministry of power, Tope Seton, commended.
Seton noted that the initiative was in line with current realities in meeting up the country’s energy requirement, adding that the government is currently looking at renewable sources of power, other than hydro-power generation and that the ministry will lend its support to the project.
The planned location of the project was however not disclosed by the promoters.
– This Day