The Minster of Power, Dr. Rilwanu Babalola, said yesterdayÂ in Shiroro, Niger State, thatÂ the countryâ€™s electricity generation had hit 2,900 megawatts.
He said the feat followed the â€˜synchronisationâ€™ of the repaired Unit III at the Shiroro Hydro dam to the national grid.
Babalola spoke at the return of the unit back to service, after it was repaired by the station’s engineers.
He said the addition of the unitâ€™s 150 Mw to the national grid was part of the ministryâ€™s efforts to meet the December deadline for 6,000 Mw generation.
The minister commended the management and engineers for achieving the feat by repairing the unit generator at the station, instead of contracting it to a foreign firm at a huge cost.
â€œI am proud of your achievement. What is remarkable here is that the repairs on the unit we have just re-inaugurated were carried out entirely by our Nigerian engineers resident here in Shiroro without any foreign assistance,â€ he said.
â€œBy the re-inauguration of unit 411G3, we have injected additional 150Mw of electricity to the national grid; this is enough energy to meet the basic electricity needs of the Federal Capital Territory.
“While we continue to make concerted effort to meet the energy requirements of our dear nation, we implore Nigerians to understand that electric power cannot be picked off the shelf. ItÂ has to be planned for, this calls for patience and support from all Nigerians,â€ he said.
He said the Federal Executive Council had approved the overhaul of another unit (Unit 411G2) and the supply of spare parts for the regular maintenance of the generators at the dam.
The minister said the December deadline for 6,000 Mws remained on course, especially now that NNPC had begun the supply of gas to some of the gas thermal stations, with some already contributing to the national grid.
Also speaking, the Managing Director of PHCN, Alhaji Hussaini S. Labo said the NNPC had commenced the supply of gas to some thermal stations, with Sapele and Geregu thermal stations injecting their generated capacity to the national grid.
He said that gas supply will be extended to Papalanto thermal station and â€˜we expect PapalantoÂ to come on stream very soon and make its contribution to the national grid as part of efforts to meet the 6,000MW by Decemberâ€™â€™.
Alhaji Daudu Abdul-Aziz, the Chief Executive Officer of Shiroro Hydroelectric Dam, said the repairs were carried out by the resident engineers at a cost N50 million with the spare parts in its stock, thereby saving over N1.6 billion.
Shiroro Dam at present contributes 450 MW to the national grid while awaiting the repair of it s Unit II
Plans to develop coal for power project:
Meanwhile, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mrs. Deziani Allison-Madueke, says the Federal Government is taking steps to ensure proper use of coal to boost energy generation in the country.
Allison-Madueke said this at a forum in Abuja yesterday, adding that 11 strategic coal clusters had been established in the country.
â€œFor coal, we looked at the situation and quickly developed 11 strategic coal clusters. Each of the 11 coal clusters was put together to allow quantities of coal in each sector that would supply independent power projects,â€ she said.
The minister said that the ministry decided on coal clusters because of a lack of rail infrastructure to carry â€˜heavy tonnageâ€™ of coal.
â€œThe reason for having them as integrated enclaves is because we lack the basic infrastructural logistics such as railway lines and roads that will carry heavy tonnage of coal and iron ore to the ports for export,â€ she said.
Allison-Madueke disclosed that the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development was working with the Ministry of Power towards the effective use of coal in power generation.
â€œWe are working very closely with Ministry of Power at this time to try over the next few months to put together a pilot project that we can kick off to enjoy the benefits of coal to power.
â€œThere is no country in the world that has coal resources that is not using them for purposes of energy generation,â€ she said.
The minister noted that even the U.S., with all the environmental concerns, uses coal for power generation.
She stressed that Nigeria had no excuse not to find ways of using its coal for power generation.