Epileptic Power: ROSATOM Proposes Water as Effective Off-grid Solution for Nigeria

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Inspired by the need to address Nigeria’s perennial electricity shortfall, ROSATOM, Russia’s state owned nuclear energy corporation, is proposing off-grid technologies such as mini hydro power stations as an effective solution to ensure access to electricity for Nigeria’s increasing population.

This, the corporation said is underscored by the fact that minor water streams are practically omnipresent in Nigeria.

ROSATOM on behalf of the Russian Government recently signed an agreement with Nigeria for the development of a nuclear power plant and research centre in Nigeria.

Justifying the rationale for effective off-grid solutions to address Nigeria’s energy shortfall, the corporation noted that Nigeria is the biggest and most attractive off-grid opportunity in Africa, as it is the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa with a GDP of $405 billion, 180 million people, and a flourishing economy with Compound Annual Growth Rate of 15% since 2000.”

“A significant amount of the economy is powered largely by small-scale generators (10–15 GW) and almost 50% of the population have limited or no access to the grid. As a result, Nigerians and their businesses spend almost $14 billion (₦ 5 trillion) annually on inefficient generation that is expensive ($0.40/kWh or ₦140/kWh or more) of poor quality, noisy, and polluting sources – from electricity generators.”

Proffering a way out, the corporation said: “Getting off-grid solutions to scale and commercial viability in Nigeria will unlock an enormous market opportunity in sub-Saharan Africa.”
The statement further added that mini hydro power station technology is quick and simple to build, maintain and gives ecologically clean and cheap electricity.

Recently, one of ROSATOM’s subsidiaries showcased an innovative portable mini hydro power station in a container format for electricity generation in remote areas.
Throwing more light on this unique innovation, ROSATOM Central and Southern Africa regional vice-president, Dmitry Shornikov, said it comprises a design capacity of up to 2 MW – with a single facility capable of providing electricity to between 250 and 400 houses for roughly 30 years. The system, he further noted can be run by an operator or work in a fully automated mode.

“A mini station is able to meet electricity requirements from retail and corporate consumers in those areas where central supplies are not available or where transmission lines are difficult to build or where the landscape (e.g., mountains) presents an obstacle to installing powerful electricity lines.

“Mini stations are an excellent solution for insular states and a good alternative to inefficient and ecologically unfriendly diesel generators,” he pointed out.

He added that mini hydro stations could also be of value to the industrial sector such as mining, lumbering and oil production firms which could be located in remote areas isolated from the power grid.