18 June 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – As pipelines carrying gas to power plants come under intense attacks by militants in the Niger Delta region, the Federal Government yesterday said it will accelerate work on four hydropower plants in order to boost electricity supply in the country.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, said the government will increase work on Gurara hydropower plant phase one and phase two, Zungeru, Dadin Kowa and Mambilla power plants to solve the energy problem.
Fashola said hydroelectricity would help replace the country’s diesel generating fleet, which has proven vulnerable as fuel supply lines have fallen victim to vandalism and theft.
He noted that continuous vandalism of gas pipelines and infrastructure across the country had forced government to explore other alternative sources of energy.
The minister, who spoke at the launch of Building Energy Efficiency Guideline (BEEG) for Nigeria, assured that developing alternative source of energy by government would make it impossible to hold Nigeria to ransom in future by controlling any particular source of fuel for electricity.
According to him, “We have seen from events that started from around the 14th of February this year, repeated acts of vandalism on our gas pipelines and infrastructure that renders us clearly vulnerable to one source of fuel for our energy development.
“That has challenged us to develop options, alternatives – solar in particular and of course hydropower plants in more quantitative response. So we will be accelerating work on project like Gurara hydropower plant phase one and phase two.”
He added that, “Work has started on Zungeru hydropower plant. We will also be accelerating work on Dadin Kowa power plant, as we will on Mambilla power plant which will give us the biggest single electrification source over a period of seven years that it is estimated to take to conclude it.
The projects in Fashola’s call include the 3,050MW Mambilla, 700MW Zungeru, 250MW Gurara, and 35MW Dadin Kowa projects — all of which the minister said he hopes to see inaugurated within the next seven years.
The largest of the projects, Mambilla, has been in development since at least 1982, with the government even awarding a US$3,8 billion contract to China Gezhouba Group Co. Ltd. and Sinohydro in 2007. Efforts to begin construction, however, have stalled a number of times since then.
The Nigerian government signed a deal with the Export-Import Bank of China in 2013 to finance Zungeru, though that project too has subsequently failed to move forward as anticipated.
The proposed Dadin Kowa was included as part of the government’s call for reviews last June, though work has yet to begin on it as well.