Teddy Oscar, Abuja
Nigeria, on Thursday, made yet another giant stride in the power sector, three days, after the Federal Government formally handed over share certificates and licences to new core owners of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) successor companies in a ceremony performed by President Goodluck Jonathan at the Banquet Hall of the State House.
This follows the commissioning of the 434 megawatts Geregu II Power Plant in Kogi State under the National Integrated Power Plants (NIPP) by the President, who also promised to complete the commissioning of other plants in the same category before the end of Q1 of 2014.
Speaking at the event, Jonathan recalled that the feat came at some costs.
“With a capacity of 434 megawatts in addition already existing Geregu I Power Plant that started to operate back in 2007 with 414, this plant will play an important role to further improve the reliable power supply in Nigeria.
“We recognise the critical role of power in economic development. Without power, we cannot industrialise. The NIPP projects were stalled for two years when the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) took the Federal Government to court over deduction from the excess crude account for the NIPPs. We are celebrating this today, but not without lots of challenges. At a time, the road was not able to carry the turbines. There was no properly planned gas infrastructure programme as well as land issues with the communities,” the President recalled.
Expressing optimism that the plants under the scheme would add at least 5000 megawatts in months to come. Jonathan further observed that with the handover of certificates to the new owners of GENCOS and DISCOS last Monday, the power sector reform was on course.
“The NIPPs we are commissioning will be privatised between now and first quarter of next year. The hope that one day we will have stable power supply is gradually becoming a reality, with the successful privatisation of GENCOS and DISCOS,” he added.
The minister of power, Prof Chinedu Nebo, in his speech, said that the ceremony was a commitment of a well-thought out policy framework.
He added that the project is expected to boost power for economic activities.
“NIPP’s contribution to the national grid is 1600MWs on a regular. Better days are ahead. Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) has been strengthened. I appeal to our compatriots to appreciate the efforts of government. The success of the NIPP project has made it imperative to retain the programme.
“Power generation has improved in the country with the contribution of the NIPPs contributing 1,600 megawatts to the national grid. Efforts are already being made by the Federal Government to carry out maintenance and overhaul the privatised power plants. We see the handover of licenses of PHCN assets to the new owners as the beginning of new things where everyone will have access to regular electricity. As the private sector, the government will provide friendly environment,” Nebo said.
In his address the managing director of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), James Olotu, recalled that the Geregu Phase II power station project was initiated in 2006 as the second phase development to the 414 Geregu Phase I power station to add three more Siemens type V94.2 gas turbines to complete the Geregu power station as originally conceived.
“However, as the project was to be funded under the NIPP with a different ownership structure from the first phase plant, the Phase II power plant was therefore built as a fully independent stand-alone plant.
“Construction works commenced on site on August 2010 and progressed rapidly according to schedule after overcoming the early challenges of having to coordinate the frequent necessity of rock blasting at the site with the operations requirements of the running Phase I gas turbine unit. The first gas turbine unit plus the common systems went into full commercial operation upon the conclusion of final completion tests on April 3,2013, while the other two units were completed and put to commercial use on May 14, 2013,” he said.
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