…Says Mambilla, Zungeru, others will meet completion timeline,
…Laments distribution, transmission infrastructure failing
By Chris Ochayi
The Federal Government, Monday, vowed to fast track completion of various ongoing intervention projects in the power sector in order to make electricity available to the teeming population of Nigeria.
Minister of Power, Engr. Saleh Mamman, who made the promise , while speaking at the 11th International conference power systems operations and planning, ICEPSOP 2020 in Abuja, said the government would give priority to the legacy projects.
The theme of the three-day conference is powering minigrids with smart grid attributes development in United States and Africa.
The minister noted that implementation of the projects will be done in tandem with the electrification road map to ensure synergy and availability of needed infrastructure to evacuate and distribute the electrons for the use of Nigerians.
He said, the projects include the large, medium, and small hydro projects. Projects currently being fast tracked include; Mambilla, Zungeru, Kashimbila, Dadin Kowa and others.
Engr, Mamman, while emphasising on increase energy access, said, “The ministry is focusing on increasing electricity access to the teeming population of Nigerians through the use of mini and micro grid.
“It is pertinent to note that energy access has been a perennial issue particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Out of the 1.2 billion people without access to electricity, about half of those reside within the region according to industry data.
“However, electrification rate in Nigeria stands 55 percent in urban and areas and 36 percent in rural communities. To improve this, the federal government has spared no effort in exploring new rural electrification strategies and novel concepts to create viable businesses and well-paying jobs for Nigerians.”
The minister added that, “The ministry is promoting partnerships with the private sector vial the Rural Electrification Agency, REA, the regulator and its investment promotion unit to optimize regulation and policy to create a more amiable business environment thus increasing access to those that need it most.
“We implemented several pilot rural off-grid project models around the mini grid based on government approved policies; we hope to facilitate the replication of the model across the country.
The minister, however, lamented that “The misalignment along the sub-levels of the electricity value chain is putting sever stress on the system, adding, “Transmission and distribution infrastructure have largely failed to keep pace with increasing generation capacity.
“To mitigate this, the first focus of the ministry is to deflate the delta between the available capacity and what ends up being distributed by the distribution companies, thus significantly reducing the losses and risks associated with undelivered capacity.”
In his remarks, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Power, Hon. Magaji Da’u Aliyu noted that the development of min grid will take off pressures from the operators of the main grid.
According to him, “Having realized that the development of the mini grid is essential to improving the performance of the power sector it becomes important to historically look at the mini grid development vis-à-vis the merits and demerits the cost, technical complexities its connectivity to the main grid as well as the roles of NERC in realizing this.”
Hon. Aliyu, therefore, charged the conference to address the amount of investments a country may make in the mini grid. Right now, the cost/KWH for a mini grid is higher than the cost for the main grid.