FESTUS OKOROMADU writes on some ongoing power projects being executed by the ministry of power aimed at achieving the incremental power goal of the administration.
The nation’s number two citizen, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, while delivering a lecture titled: ‘Nigeria Rising: The Path To Prosperity’ at the 50th convocation ceremony of University of Lagos (UNILAG), on Monday said, the next level, is to ensure completion of the major infrastructure projects.
Although he acknowledged funding as the major drawback to achieving this goal, the execution of such projects especially those in the power sector would serve as a boost to the much talked – about economic diversification.
Good enough, the government is not resting on its oars as to finding alternatives. As the vice president further explained step being taken to overcome this challenge.
“We have established an infrastructure fund known as the ‘Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund. If we stick to our agenda, in the next two years, we will see the most significant improvements in our power sector in history,” he said, thus, emphasizing the government’s commitment to developing infrastructure in the sector.
Although the sector is said to be loaded with huge challenges such as increasing demand–supply gap, crumbling electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure, high cost of delivered electricity, the absence of sufficient generation capacity remains critical and seem uppermost.
Hence move by government and the private sector partners to harness and expand generation capacity is a welcome development.
Interestingly, the focus is now how to blend various means of power generation to create a perfect mix that would provide the much needed electricity. The mix include hydro power generation plants, wind turbines, solar power projects, gas turbines and even a blend of gas and diesel as alternative fuels to power plant.
Recently, the federal ministry of power, works and housing (FMOPWH) embarked on a routine assessment duty which involves monitoring the executions of ongoing projects in the sector.
The visit offered the team which include journalists, first hand insight to government’s sincerity in the pursuit of the incremental power initiative.
It also showed government’s thinking in terms of harnessing the multiple platforms available for power generation. For instance, while Niger State blessed with rivers strategically positioned for hydro power generation, Kastina State is hosting a windmill power generating farm, while Kaduna State is home to first of its kind double power, gas cum diesel power turbines to generate power.
Addressing the visiting team at the 700 megawatts Zungeru Hydro Power Project site, the project manager, Engr. Babatunde Adewumi, explained that the dam project was conceived to exploit and harness the potential arising from the Kaduna River.
He stated that the location provides the unique advantage arising from the topography and the improved regulation of the river flow between Shiroro and Jebba.
“Upstream of this location you have Shiroro Dam and downstream of this location you have Jebba Dam, this project is in between those two dams so it’s utilising the energy potentials of the river flow of stream and the topography advantage of this location.
“The intention is for that water to now be turbines through four 175 megawatts turbines with a head of 101 meters, and the power that is generated will be evacuated through two transmission lines. One 132KV line to Tejina and another two double circuit line 330KV lines to connect with the current Shiroro, Jebba transmission line,” he said.
Speaking of the extent of job done so far and the expected date for completion, Adewumi said the project was 51 per cent completed.
“In terms of the overall completion the project is 51 per cent completed based on the fact that the reservoirs are set but the structural part is significantly advanced,” he said.
He added that when completed, the dam was expected to add over 2,600 megawatts hours energy capacity to nation’s electricity supply.
On the project completion he said, “The contractor has committed to a completion date arising from his contract of the last unit of the plant in December 2020.
“There are four turbine units, the first unit is expected to be commissioned in December 2019, while the last unit is December 2020.
“The first unit of 175MW will be delivered in December 2019 and the additional 3 units will be delivered within a period of three month interval thereafter.”
The same optimism was expressed by the project engineer of the contracting firm handling the 10 Megawatts Katsina Wind Farm Project in Katsina State.
Addressing the visiting team, at the project site, the project engineer, and a staff of Crown Resources and Development Company Limited, Engr. Emmanuel Yakubu, said already 37 wind turbines installed on site, 15 of them had been commissioned, while they continue with operation and maintenance on those 15 wind turbines, adding that they were currently working on the commissioning phase for the remaining 22 wind turbines.
He stated that in the absence of any unforeseen circumstances, the farm should be ready for commission and handover to the ministry by mid October 2019.
Expatiating on the workings of the wind farm, Yakubu said, power generated is evacuated into the national grid through the TCN substation in Katsina.
According to him, at ultimatum wind speed the farm should generate between 9/9.5 megawatts, adding that such wind speed is attended between October and February.
Interestingly, the project was initiated since 2011, and originally contracted to French company that did the installation to a certain level then, before running into crisis. Some of their staff were kidnapped leading to the French government ordering all of them to leave Katsina, living the project hanging until 2014, before an indigenous engineering firm, Crown Resources and Development Company Limited, took over.
A similar story of progress was reported at the 215MW Kudenda Greenfield Plant in Kaduna. The site manager, Engr. Paul Adeyemo, of Rockson Engineering, told the team that the plant has been configured to operate using both natural gas and diesel fuel.
Adeyemo said the project was sited at Kudenda industrial area instead of Kakuri industrial area to take advantage of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) gas pipeline, the Abuja – Kaduna – Kano (AKK) which is expected to route near the site.
Describing the plant, Adeyemo said, “It is a 215MW power plant project comprising eight turbine units which have been installed. Electrical works are at various stages of completion in each unit and for the first and second units, pre-commissioning has started.”
He said what was left was to install the power control module (PCM) which has placed the work percentage at 86 per cent completion level for the project which comprised engineering, procurement and construction.
“Each of the eight units generates up to 25MW. The plant has also been designed in a way that it will be powered by diesel, and gas in the absence of diesel,” he stated.
The project consultant for SEWA West Africa Ltd, George Eno Tembe, at the site said the substation would supply power to some industrial areas in Kaduna State and then to the national grid.
“The plant has two switch yards to evacuate power to TCN substation to the national grid and the other to the industrial areas in Kudenda and Kakuri,” Tembe said.
The project tcoordinator for Skipper Nig. Ltd, Njromjon Gupta, said the 132/33 kilovolt (KV) substation to evacuate power from the plant has been built.
He said, “Everything concerning the power station has been done; the only thing remaining are the corrections which the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) has pointed out and are been effected.
“We have requested NEMSA to inspect it again, and then we will handover because last year July, we did the initial take over,” Gupta noted.
The monitoring team could not but agree with Fashola’s concept of incremental power generation considering the fact that the current administration chose to focus on completing existing projects instead of contracting new ones that are usually abandoned mid way due to financial constraints and corruption.
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