11 March 2014, Abuja – The Federal Government and key Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in the country have again reviewed the progress of power projects initiated to help improve Nigeria’s on-grid power generation capacity.
Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakil in this regard met with a business delegation from General Electric (GE). The team was led by GE’s Chief Financial Officer, Frederic Ribieras, its Nigerian Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Lazarus Angbazo and that of Africa, Thomas Kenditi.
GE which is a major player in Nigeria’s power said in Abuja that it had come to follow-up with the government on the agreement reached with its Global CEO, Jeffrey Immett when he visited the country in January.
It also stated that the other issue on the table for discussion was the planned development of a 534 megawatts (MW) thermal power plant to be sited at Qua Iboe Terminal in Eket-Akwa Ibom state by Exxon-Mobil.
GE is the technical partner to the project which would also produce 400mmscuf of gas per day in excess of the requirement of the power plant when completed. The excess gas would however be made available to other power plants in need of additional gas supply.
The group equally talked about its investment in renewable energy sources like solar and wind, indicating its perceived fear with the policy direction for the renewable energy sector.
A statement from the ministry of power quoted Ribieras to have said the investors have acclaimed Nigeria’s power divestment programme as a bold and decisive reform, but equally expressed concern on delay associated with transmission of money from consumers to those who produce the energy.
He also stated the apprehension over unnecessary delays in projects coming upstream from conception to its final completion, to which it wants the government to keep to its commitment with the privatisation exercise.
GE had committed to invest about $350 million to improve off-grid renewable sources of electricity generation and distribution to Nigeria’s rural communities. Its financial commitment which was announced in January by the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo and Immelt is expected to add force to the government’s ongoing rural electrification programme under its “operation light-up rural nigeria” initiative.
Similarly, Nebo in a meeting with the promoters of the 450MW Azura-Edo power plant, stated the government’s commitment to seeing the project which he described as the second Greenfield IPP in Nigeria come on stream.
He also commended Azura’s incorporation of gas investment infrastructure into its plan for the plant, adding that the development of such critical infrastructure was strategic.
“This is the auspicious time to invest in power; the Nigerian government is poised to buying all power generated, through its agency-the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trader (NBET) also with the World Bank backing through the Partial Risk Guarantee (PRG).
To this end, all power generated will be paid for 100 per cent when produced.
There is also the Buy-Back Scheme, all these measures are attractive to the genuine investors, coupled with the fact that the market in Nigeria, West Africa and Africa is huge, only waiting for the robust transnational transmission lines to come up stream,” Nebo said.
– Chineme Okafor, This Day