Thursday, September 8, 2016

Hydropower set for far bigger role in Nigeria

Nigeria is heavily populated and power hungry African nation. The country has more than 177 million people that frequently suffer from inadequate and interrupted power supply. Hydropower is often touted as one of the most promising sources to solve Nigeria's energy issues. But what has been done so far?

The mostly talked about hydropower project in Nigeria is 3050 MW Mambilla Hydropower project at Gembu in Taraba State. It has been reported that 40 Chinese engineers have visited the site of the 3050 WM Mambilla hydro-power project as a final preparation to finally start the construction.

There have been some stumbling blocks around this project mostly coming from the disagreement between two Chinese companies though these issues are said  to have been resolved. The Obasanjo government signed the contract with the Chinese firm in 2007 but the inclusion of Sinohydro Corporation, a Chinese firm that was not part of the original bid winners – CGC/CGGC in 2005 delayed the start of the project.

President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration got a new French consultant who expanded the project’s capacity to 3050mw and re-estimated the cost at $3.2bn in 2011.The Governor of Taraba State has promised to acquire the land and deal with compensation issues. The feasibility study has been done and so too the Environmental Impact Assessment and now everything looks in place to kickstart country's hydropower production.

Once constructed, this project will make hydropower the most important energy source in Nigeria.  It has been reported that among the 27 active power generating plants in Nigeria, only three are based on hydropower. These include Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro Generation companies.

Hopefully this time there will be no new setbacks with the construction. Hydropower is proven and environmentally friendly source of energy that could help Nigeria solve its energy issues in years to come.