The Federal Government and 10 states are currently working to produce 2,000 megawatts of off-grid electricity through solar energy sources, the Minister of Power, Aliyu Abubakar, announced on Tuesday.
Speaking at the Power Dialogue organised in Abuja by Nextier Power, Abubakar also revealed that Nigeria’s major hydropower plants, Kainji and Jebba, were currently producing only 130MW of electricity to the grid out of their joint installed capacity of about 1,300MW.
He said, “We have policies around renewable sources of energy. We want to maintain them on the mini-grid and off-grid for the simple fact that the grid is not yet stable to take various energy mixes. We want to raise our base-load to a level where we can later on integrate these other sources of energy. So this is what we are doing and in that regard, we have some developers that we have just opened discussions with. And we have reached a level of financial and technical evaluation with them to develop 14 projects culminating to 1,000MW of solar power. It will be off-grid. Also, about 10 state governors are trying to see to the fruition of about 1,000MW.”
Abubakar added, “They are to produce 100MW each of solar power. And we are also looking at other newer technologies, such as the hydrogen technology, which we are still studying and collaborating with those initiating it.”
The minister said he was recently invited by the German government in Nigeria where partners had a session on hydrogen technology. “They have opened a hydrogen office in Nigeria and so we are still reviewing that,” he stated. On the recent collapse of the national power grid, the minister said a lot of factors had caused the repeated crashes in the electricity system.
He outlined the causes of the incessant grid collapses to include the vandalism of gas pipelines, power lines and other equipment, adding that inadequate water levels had also contributed to the disturbances to the national grid.
Abubakar then revealed that both Kainji and Jebba hydropower plants with combined capacity of about 1,300MW, were currently producing only 130MW to the national grid. He said, “We are just coming into the rainy season and the dams need flood and if we do not have flood the water level will go down. Once the water goes down, it doesn’t have that energy to turn the turbines.
“Let me give you an example, Kainji and Jebba (hydropower plants) have installed capacity of over 1,000MW. Kainji has 700MW+, while Jebba has 500MW to 600MW.
“But right now, Kainji is only giving us 50MW to the grid because of some forced maintenance. Only one unit out of eight units is working in Kainji. So also is Jebba, which is giving us only 80MW, which has an installed capacity of close to 600MW.”
The minister further noted that the government was committed to the zero carbon emission target across the globe.