Nigeria now generates about 26 per cent of the electricity she uses every day from her three big hydro power plants in Niger state, the country’s power minister, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has disclosed.
Fashola, said production from the three hydro power generation companies (Gencos) – Kainji, Jebba, and Shiroro, rose from 15 per cent that they generated in 2015.
He said in Abuja that the contributions of the hydro plants to Nigeria’s energy mix has then pushed down that of gas Gencos to 74 per cent from 85 per cent which he said was the case in 2015.
The minister was represented by his junior colleague, Mr. Suleiman Hassan, at the Africa Today summit on renewable energy, and he talked about the energy options that Nigeria can adopt in a low cost and low caborn world.
According to him, the multiple number of attacks Nigeria recorded on its gas lines which transport gas to her gas Gencos in the south especially in 2016, made the government realize the necessity for an alternative power sources like solar and hydro.
He said: “As I pointed out earlier, our take off point of available power in May 2015 was 2,690 megawatts (MW). On the 22nd of May 1999, the amount of power on the grid was 2,345MW out of which 85 per cent was gas fired power and 15 per cent was hydro power.
“This made us very vulnerable as a nation whenever there was a gas shortage or failure for any reason including wilful damage to gas pipelines and assets. This much was evident in 2016 when we had no less than 20 attacks on our gas pipelines.”
Continuing, he explained: “Our response of course has been to diversify our energy sources and optimise other assets for power production by producing an energy mix that targets a 30 per cent component of renewable energy out of the gross energy we produce by 2030. That document also provides investment information about the areas where renewable energy such as solar and hydro are most prolific.”
He noted: “We have resolved problems that stalled work at the Zungeru 700MW hydro power plant with a new completion date of 2019 and we have also now awarded the 3050MW Mambilla hydro power plant after over 40 years of its initial conception.”
“In addition, we are in advanced stages of procurement for six small hydro dams for private sector operation. What remains therefore is the faithful implementation of these projects to bring on stream their stock of renewable solar and hydro power.
“Even before all these other sources of renewable power come on stream, we are seeing better results through maintenance, repairs and investment in the hydro power plants. On the 22nd of May this year, the percentage of hydro power on the grid has gone up to 26 per cent from 15 per cent that it was in May 2015 and the gas fired power has reduced proportion now respresents 74 per cent of our energy mix from 85 per cent in the same month in 2015, even though total power has increased.”
Reports from the government had also disclosed that between October 1 and 11, the three hydro plants generated 11,103.56MW of the 39,256MW Nigeria had, representing about 28 per cent of the generation output.
From the records, Jebba, Shiroro, and Kainji hydro plant produced 3,958.2MW, 3,592.91MW, and 3552.45MW respectively within the period.