Government to increase power supply by 2007

Government to increase power supply by 2007

Postby Richard Akindele » Wed Jun 21, 2006 12:33 am

The Nigerian government has set a 10,000 MW target capacity for electricity generation by 2007 as a way of increasing power supply which has been epileptic over a long period.

Part of the efforts to realize this ambition is the on going power plants construction in different parts of the country. Ten power stations are in the pipeline.

They include the 414MW Geregu power station in Kogi State, 335MW Omotosho Gas Turbine Power station in Ondo State, 335MW Papalanto thermal station in Ogun State, all these are at various stages of completion.

Others include the Mambilla station in Taraba State, a 250MW in Calabar, Cross River State, a 500MW plant in Eyaea, Edo State, a 270MW in Ikot Abasi, Akwa Ibom State, a 500MW in Sapele, Delta state and a 230MW plant in Omoku, Rivers State.

The existing power stations and their installed capacities are, Egbin Thermal Station, Lagos (1,320 MW), Afam Thermal Station, Rivers State (969MW), Sapele Thermal, Delta State (1,020MW), Ijora Thermal Plant, Lagos (40MW), Kainji Hydro Station, Niger State (760MW), Jebba Hydro Staion, Niger State (578.4MW) and Shiroro Hydro, Niger State (600MW).

But the actual power capacity currently generated in the country is presumed to be below 4,000MW.

The Geregu (414mw), Omotosho (335mw) and the Papalanto (335mw) power stations when combined would only generate 1,084MW.

Other power stations when completed are expected to generate an additional 4,375MW, totaling 8,375MW.

This means we still have a shortfall of about 1,625MW. But government is insisting that by 2007, the country would hit 10,000MW.

Recently, the minister of power and steel, senator Liyel Imoke, during an inspection tour to Geregu, Papalanto and Omotosho, the three power stations currently undergoing construction said with the progress and quality of work going on in these power stations, he was very sure the projects would be completed and commissioned by the president before he leaves office by 2007.

The minister said the government has paid over 90% of about $429,821billion Geregu power projects being handled by a German company, Siemens.

The Omotosho and Papalanto stations according to him are jointly sponsored by the Chinese credit facility and government have already paid its own 35% which is the equivalent of N13 billion.

The Papalanto is handled by the SEPCO Electric Power construction, while the Omotosho is being built by Chinese National Machinery & Equipment Import and Export Corporation.

At the Geregu power station, Imoke said “this is one of the ten power stations under going construction in the country, it is expected to be the first to generate electricity before the year ends, and we intend to increase the capacity by 200MW�.

Most of the stations he said would be completed before the end of 2007. He appealed to the construction companies to increase pace so that the president can commission them before that period.

Despite these efforts by government to end the country’s chronic electricity problems, an assured power supply is still a distant dream.

Even though the country is endowed with huge power generating potentials, the country’s power supply is still abysmally low.

The country’s power generating potential is said to be highest in Africa. This is attributed to her abundant natural resources. With natural gas reserve of about 188trillion cubic feet, the country has enough associated gas potential to power the biggest thermal station in Africa.

While other countries are busy encouraging investment in nuclear power in addition to other sources of energy, Nigeria is still struggling to meet the areas other countries have left behind.

Recently, the most industrialised countries of the world popularly known as the G8 met in Moscow to encourage the use of nuclear energy to generate electricity.

South Africa for instance has hit a power generating capacity of 36,000 MW and is planning to construct an additional 5, 000MW by 2010.

4,000MW is not enough for the country and the projected target of 10,000MW of electricity in 2007 might be hampered looking at the current state of power stations in the country.

There is still over dependence on the aged plants and obsolete equipment.

Another thing that could pose a possible threat to this ambition is the activities of vandals. The incessant vandalisation of electric cables nationwide has resulted in persistent power outages.

Although, work at the three power stations in Geregu, Omotosho and Papalanto

are said to be at the advanced stages of completion, the target of 10,000MW might not be realistic for some reasons as.

The contract for the constructions of the Mambbila station and those at the Niger Delta are yet to be awarded, the vandalized cables of PHCN at the Niger Delta which is affecting power supply to six states in that region are yet to be rehabilitated.

The managing director of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Engr. Joseph Makoju recognized the epileptic power supply in the country when he said “presently we are in serious blackness and power stations are being blasted.

We only have five power stations now to serve the country and they often breakdown�. The last time a power station was built in the country according to him was between 1976 and 1985. Works at construction sites of the Omotosho Papalanto and the Geregu power stations if sustained could increase power generating capacity in the country, but more can still be done.

We can explore our nuclear and solar energy potentials to boost the country’s energy needs.

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Richard Akindele
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