Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The federal government has approved the license for 300 megawatts (MW) Itobe-1 coal power plant to use 1125 cubic meters per hour (m3/h) of water from the River Niger for its expected power generation.
An approval certificate for the water usage was given to the promoters of the plant – Zuma Energy, in Abuja by the Executive Director of Nigeria Integrated Water Resources Management Commission (NIWRMC), Mr. Reuben Habu.
Habu said when he handed over the certificate to the Group Head, Administration and General Services of Zuma Energy, Mr. Ugo Agbanusi that Zuma filed a request for the license in 2015, after which its request was evaluated and the permit issued to it.
He also noted that Zuma met the government’s requirements for such permit, hence the final approval by the Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu.
“When they applied for a water use license las year, we went through their request and considered whether to give them a collective license for the four power plants they are building, but we were advised that the plants are independent of each other and need independent licenses for water usage.
The minister subsequently approved the license and from time to time, we will see to their adherence to the terms in this license,” said Habu.
Under the terms, the license would last for five years staring from October 2016, while the fee and water rate to be charged the company could be subject to changes and review from time to time.
Also, the company is expected to install a water meter approved by the NIWRMC, as well as ensure that its power plant is not located near River Niger water course and also three to five kilometres away from the water bank.
The company is also required in the license terms to avoid instances of obstructing the water course of the River Niger, as well as use the water license for the purpose which it was granted, failure of which could attract a penalty by the government.
Speaking on the development, Agbanusi said the company will adhere to the license terms.
He stated that the company would go ahead to conclude the processes of constructing the plant, having obtained the water usage license.
According to him, “We appreciate the efforts and speedy process you had put in to make sure this license was out on time. We will abide by the conditions and terms in the license.
“Now, we will go ahead to continue with the construction of the plant and commission it on time because electricity has become an important issue for Nigeria.”