Addressing stable power supply as panacea to national development

On assuming power, one of the promises made by President Muhammadu Buhari was to improve the power sector to ensure economy stability. Improving access of Nigerians to electricity has since remained a key focus of Buhari’s administration agenda to ensure that Nigerians have access to steady power supply.

Minister of Power, Mr Abubakar Aliyu, speaking recently in Abuja said that the present government had initiated some transformational changes that would on the long run improve the access and quality of electricity in Nigeria.

“I can confidently tell you that with the efforts we have put in, and still putting in, we are at the dawn of a new era in the power sector in Nigeria.

“One significant effort the Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration has put in is the Siemens Nigeria and the Federal Government’s deal under the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI).

The minister said that the partnership between Siemens and the Federal Government seeks to expand Nigeria’s electricity capacity from the current 4,500 Megawatts (MW) to 25,000MW.

Aliyu said that the PPI which began in 2021 is in three phases and is estimated to be completed in 2025.

He said that the phases cover the upgrading and expanding of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) networks.

“Improvement of access to affordable, efficient and reliable electricity and providing support for industrial and economic growth in the country.

“This first phase which began in 2021 will go on for a period of 10 months with the end goal of pushing it to 7,000MW.

“So far, there has been no hitch as the team is currently in the pre-engineering phase. The second phase will raise the availability to 11,000MW and the third phase will raise the availability to 25,000MW.

The minister also explained that the government was currently evaluating the procurement process and was confident that a positive outcome would emerge, saying that the project had reached an advanced stage in line with the Siemens project implementation plan.

“Given Siemens AG’s accomplishment of a similar plan in Egypt and also, its reputation as an international giant in the power sector related engagements, it is strongly believed that the Nigeria Electricity Roadmap (NER) is possible and achievable.

However, he argued that sustainable growth in the power sector could only be achieved by adding renewable sources to the energy mix, noting that today, 80 per cent of Nigeria’s energy comes from gas-fired plants.

“Government is driving the change to increase the quantum of renewable energy sources using solar, wind and hydro across the nation. We are encouraging investments in renewable sources in areas with comparative advantages.

“Today, for example, 80 per cent of our energy comes from gas fired plants. We are encouraging investments in renewable sources in areas with comparative advantages.

“We are working tirelessly to increase the hydro and solar opportunities in the country in line with the plan of integrating more renewable sources into our energy mix,‘’ he said.

According to him, Mambilla is planned to deliver 3,050 megawatts (MW), Kashimbila is planned to deliver 40MW, Dadinkowa is also planned to deliver 40MW, Zungeru is planned to deliver another 700MW and Katsina Wind farm is to deliver 10MW.

“It is worthy to note that we are now going to make significant progress with the Mambilla Hydro plant as the issues hampering the progress are being seriously looked into.

Mini grids are a unique solution model that will increase the renewable energy penetration in Nigeria.

“It is because of this we are developing mini-grids across our Ministry, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Nigeria.

Aliyu said that the Ministry of Works and Housing has taken the lead by starting and completing a pilot 1.5MW of Solar. We hope to replicate this model across our MDAs.

Government is doing a lot in providing the needed infrastructure and it’s also being supported by multilateral partners like World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB), AFB and others.

These support structures, plus the intervention fund from CBN, will go a long way in addressing some of these infrastructure gaps. A proper implementation of all planned and ongoing projects will also increase electricity availability and quality.

To achieve the desired quick wins, the federal government launched the Power Sector Reform Plan (PSRP) to strengthen the Regulatory Agency, NERC; a properly monitored Performance Improvement Plans (PIP) to track progress of the Distribution Companies and a Transmission Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme (TREP) to strengthen the wheeling capacity of TCN.

These efforts are geared toward ensuring that the yearnings and desires of Nigerians are met as regards steady and reliable power supply.

On his part, Minister of State for Power, Mr Goddy Jeddy-Agba, said that the Government would continue to create an enabling environment for private investors to thrive in the power sector.

“We understand that the government cannot do it all, this is why we have opened the vista for more people to invest in the sector.

“The world is already transiting from fossil-based energy production and consumption to renewable energy and Nigeria is playing a leading role in the global market.

“Our message to investors is that renewable energy is the present and the future. Therefore, we encourage more Nigerians to key into this area. We are not just looking at foreign investors. We want our local investors to also embrace the renewable energy sector.”

Jeddy-Agba assured all investors and would-be investors that the Federal Government would continue to create favourable policies and business-friendly environment for their investments to thrive.(NAN Features)

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