By Obas Esiedesa, Abuja
Nigeria is working with four West African countries to take ‘stranded’ electricity capacity through a $570 million transmission project.
Although the World Bank named Nigeria as the third country in the world with least electricity supply, the country has almost 3,000MW of unutilised generation capacity due to poor distribution infrastructure.
The project, Northcore Power Transmission Line, when completed, would transmit power from Nigeria through Niger, Togo, Benin to Burkina Faso.
Chairman, Executive Board of the West African Power Pool, WAPP, Engr. Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz, told journalists in Abuja, Wednesday, that the project is targeted at unutilised power in Nigeria.
According to him, “the power we will be selling is the power that is not needed in Nigeria.
“These generators that are going to supply power to this transmission line are going to generate that power specifically for this project. So it is unutilised power.”
Abdulaziz, who is also the acting Managing Director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria, TCN, explained that Nigeria is expecting new generators to participate in the energy export for the 875Km 330KV transmission line.
He added: “In addition, there are some communities that are under the line route, about 611 of them which will be getting power so that there won’t be just a transmission line passing without impact.”
He said the project which is funded by World Bank, French Development Council and the African Development Bank, has recorded progress and that the energy ministers will be addressing security issues for the project at a meeting in Abuja on Thursday.
“Nigeria has the greatest advantage among these countries”, he pointed out, “because the electricity is going to be exported from Nigerian GenCos.
“So from that, the revenue is going to be enhanced and a lot of people will be employed in Nigeria.”
Also speaking, the Secretary General of WAPP, Siengui Appolinaire Ki, said: “The cost is about $570 million and the part of the investment in each country is funded by the country and they are supported by the donors, and Nigeria is taking its own.”
Mr. Ki explained that the fund for the project was ready and awaiting disbursement.
He, however, stated that the donor agencies had said they needed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between the buying and the selling countries to be executed before releasing the fund.
“So we will be addressing the ministers on this so they can talk to the donors to remove this condition for disbursing the fund and let’s go on with the implementation.”