*Govt resolves to establish new power station in area close to energy source
14 June 2016, Abuja — Nigeria’s meagre power generation and supply capacity will in the next couple of weeks experience more distress with the planned shutdown of the 300 megawatts (MW) Agip Okpai power plant in Delta State.
According to a communique of the monthly meeting held in Kano between Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and operators in the country, the closure was necessary to allow the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) undertake repair works on its vandalised 55-kilometre transmission line within the region.
The communique which was released yesterday in Abuja, revealed that the repair work would last for two weeks, within which the 300MW plant would be shut and not contribute to the nation’s power supply system which as at yesterday had just 2,374MW to distribute to homes and offices in the country.
It said the three hydro power plants – Kainji; Jebba and Shiroro have agreed to increase their productivity to cushion the impacts of the drop in capacity for the period.
“TCN also stated its intention to make a public announcements of upcoming maintenance projects which may negatively impact power supply.
“TCN informed the meeting of the need to shut down the 300MW Okpai power plant so that a tower which was earlier vandalised can be repaired to restore a 55km transmission line.
“The hydroelectric power stations (Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro) agreed to work with TCN to boost output during the two-week outage period to minimise the effect of the outage,” said the communique.
It also explained that the TCN had recently completed 20 transmission projects in Gwagwalada, Kaduna, Afam, Apo, Lekki and Omotosho, adding that this will improve power distribution in Abuja and Lagos.
TCN, it added announced that it was working hard to restore power to Maiduguri in Borno State by next month after a long period of outage.
The communique said an estimated 2,000MW of electricity will be added to the country’s generation capacity by mid-2017 following plans by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to complete and commission four infrastructure projects to improve gas supply to power plants over the next few months through September 30 2016.
“A total of 855 million standard cubic feet per day (mmsfc/d) of gas is expected to be added to the domestic gas supply in the short term of which about 70 per cent is sent to power plants for use in generation.
“It is estimated that the increase in gas supply to power plants will increase generation capacity by approximately 2000MW by the middle of 2017,” said the communique.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has expressed the resolve of the federal government to establish new power stations in areas close to the energy sources all over the country.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the conclusion of the sixth power sector meeting held in Kano yesterday, Fashola stressed that creating more power plants would enable the federal government to use coal, hydro-power plants and solar energy to complement what was lost to the activities of pipelines vandals.
According to him, the federal government was not confined to one section of the country to source power, adding that with the effective introduction of a three phase roadmap Nigerians would be at an ample liberty to enjoy uninterrupted power supply.
He however stated that the activities of pipeline vandals had taken an abysmal toll on the nation to the extent that the major gas plants supplying the service were shut, stressing that with the current development, the federal government had been compelled to creating plants close to energy sources.
He pointed out that his ministry was not saddled with the task of providing or distributing power rather it was saddled with the business of regulating how the service providers were operating to serve people affirming that with active collaboration with the National Electricity Regulatory Council the objective could be achieved.
He said it would take the federal government 18 months to complete the project as its involved some concrete strategic plan stressing however that the quest for speedy economic development could only be achieved with the power sector in good shape.
He further revealed that the federal government was putting too much pressure on DISCOS all over the country to live up to expectation, warning that nothing would be left to chance in taking punitive steps against erring ones.
*Chineme Okafor & Ibrahim Shuaibu – Thisday