The maintenance of broken down turbines at the nation’s hydro-electric plants, enhanced their generating capacity during the increased circle of rainfall and water levels, and contributed substantially to the current addition of more power to the National Grid in spite of the vandalism of power assets.The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, explained yesterday, when he made a presentation at the Wilson Centre, Washington DC, USA. He said the repair works and maintenance were carried out on the hitherto abandoned turbines, as part of steps taken to achieve incremental power. Making a presentation on the theme, “Leadership and the Politics of Reforms in Africa: Lessons from Nigeria”, the Minister said electricity supply increased by 400 Megawatts in the last two weeks.
He recalled that over 3000MW of power had been lost over the last six months due to consistent vandalism and sabotage of oil and gas pipelines and assets. “The hydros are giving us almost 400MW of power and that is a lot of power given our situation. And we have added about 1MW of Solar and there is more coming; so I think we are on our way.” The minister had earlier prom- ised that current boost in power would be further strengthened by various transmission projects currently being carried out in several axis of the nation’s six geo-political zones.
Coming against the back- ground of complaints in some quarters that transmission was the weakest link in the power chain, Fashola, said progress was being made in the expansion of transmission adding, however, that it would be consistent with achieving incremental power within the value chain. In the area of projects aimed at achieving incremental power, Fashola, who said the focus of government was mainly on the energy mix initiative to diversify energy source, listed such projects to include the Zungeru Power plant where work is nearing completion after more than two years of suspension of work and the Azura Power Plant in Edo State where, according to him, work was also suspended for over two years due to court issues.
Noting that there were also many smaller hydro-plants like Chalawa hydro plant, Ikere hydro plant, the minister said there are more than 40 such small hydro-plants which government was also trying to bring into procurement.
“We have completed the business plan on eight and we are trying to see if we can get that on. That would help our rural electrification projects because those dams are in the rural areas,” said Fashola. On Solar energy, the minister, said the country has a lot of sunlight that could be used when the radiation was optimum and efficient during the day and also in parts of the country where the radiation levels were most prolific so that efficiency would be delivered.