06 November 2015, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, on Thursday issued an expanded electricity generation licence to Ibom Power Plant to increase its current generation capacity from 190 megawatts, MW, to 685MW.
Already, Ibom Power which is a wholly owned company of the government of Akwa Ibom State, is generating and transmitting power into the national grid from its three gas turbines: GT-1 which generates 39MW; GT-2-41MW and GT-3-126MW from 2009.
The plant, according to its Managing Director, Victor Udo, has a pre-designed generation capacity of 685MW, which the government has now approached the NERC for an expanded licence to develop.
Connected to the national grid through the 46 kilometer 132kv double circuit transmission line that runs from Ikot Abasi to Eket, the plant hooks up with an associated sub-station in Ikot Abasi which steps down its power to flow into both 33kV and 11kV distribution lines for onward distribution to local industrial and private consumers.
It is reported that this transmission line also has the capacity to transmit up to 200MW of power and as well enough to evacuate the amount of electricity generated from the plant’s first phase of 190MW before new upgrades are done for the evacuation of the 685MW phase two.
Also, natural gas feedstock to the plant is gotten from Septa Energy’s integrated gas receiving facility which reportedly feeds the National Integrated Power Projects (NIPPs) Odukpani and Alaoji power plants, as well as other commercial end users along the supply route.
The governor of Akwa Ibom State, Emmanuel Udom, said while receiving the expanded licence from the Chairman of NERC, Dr. Sam Amadi, in Abuja, the state also plans to develop an embedded electricity generation outfit to feed industries that would operate in its planned industrial district. Udom noted that the state had begun the process to expand the plant in 2014, adding that the potentials in the expansion was realised from the existing 190MW which it currently generates.
He added that the government would in this regard work with the regulatory commission to bring the expansion to fruition, saying that NERC had overtime lent to it great institutional supports in developing the project. “I want to start by saying thank you to NERC for this partnership. I don’t want to sound as if I am trying to flatter them but believe me if all government agencies are adopting this business approach to achieving results, speed, efficiency and delivery will be much more exciting than we use to have in the past.
“I really thank them. We have been working hard in these past years and it has been a good partnership. When I come here to seek approval, I can hardly differentiate between it and a private entity,” Udom said.
He also said on the state’s investment in transmission facility that: “As at today the state government has spent about $22million on transmission lines. But the TCN should also try to upgrade because there is no point producing 685mw and you cannot evacuate.”
Amadi had earlier stated that the expanded license to the plant was based on its fulfilment of the regulatory requirements demanded of it.
He said: “From 190MW and moving to 685MW. Out our 4800MW daily generation we can credit Akwa Ibom State with 190MW and that is significant.
“We have very strict procedure for licencing and if we are sitting here with the governor today to sign and present their license that is indicative that the government of Akwa Ibom has scrupulously followed the procedure and they have been certified worthy and able to increase their capacity from 190MW to a whooping 685MW. That is not easy.”
Amadi further stated: “Like I said earlier, they have done this before and I believe they will do it again. The continuity in commitment to power generation in Akwa Ibom State, we want to encourage the governor to continue to put more commitment in improving power generation, transmission and distribution.
“Akwa Ibom is a front runner and have shown good example of public private partnership model. As a commission we sincerely congratulate them and we welcome the governor and his team. We commit that we are going to provide all the support that we can afford to help the government of Akwa Ibom remain at the top of investment in power production.”
Similarly, NERC’s Commissioner for Legal and Licensing, Steven Adzinge explained that in addition to the expanded license to Ibom Power, the commission has in its 10 years of existence granted 126 licenses to promoters in the electricity value chain.
He noted that the generation license are supposed to give the country about 35,314MW on-grid power supply. According to him: “Today is another milestone in the history of the commission which in the process of trying to implement our mandate, we have to issue a license to Ibom Power. We have talked about the need to increase electricity generation in the country and as a result of that we have issued a lot of licenses.
“Our score card for now shows that we issued about 126 licenses since inception of NERC and NERC has been in existence for about 10 years now. Out of these licenses, on-grid are 72, off-grid 25, embedded is six, distribution 14, trading is one, transmission is one and system operation -one.”
“Of the promoters, in terms of on grid we have 22,216MW, off-grid-428MW, embedded-298MW, NIPP-5,032MW, PHCN successor companies, about 7,283MW; legacy IPP-708MW. The total capacity for on-grid is 35,314MW, off-grid-428.12MW, and embedded generation-298MW,” Adzenge added.
*Chineme Okafor – Thisday