Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja
The Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, has announced that the long-awaited Zungeru Hydroelectric power project has been completed, and is already supplying 700 megawatts of electricity to the national grid.
Aliyu, who spoke at a farewell party organised for him and the Minister of State, Goddy Jedy-Agba, noted that the development will boost power supply nationwide and significantly fill the gap in the nation’s electricity demand.
The Zungeru hydroelectric power plant is a $1.2 billion investment by the federal government to expand the base-load generation in the country and enhance the grid’s ability to take renewable energy.
Aside from providing energy security by reducing the challenge of using gas for power generation, the government said the project is currently providing employment for many Nigerians as well as enhancing flood control, irrigation, and water supply in the area.
“Today, the Zungeru hydroelectric power plant has become a reality. We have as of today joined the grid with 700mw. Testing started Wednesday night.
“Information has reached us with the pictorial view of the meters showing us that the 700mw has gone on the grid. You may recall that last week we were there with the team from the National Assembly. Today, we have launched that on the grid,” Aliyu said at the event.
According to the minister, the Kashimbila hydroelectric power project, a joint project with the Ministry of Water Resources, has also been completed, with phase one taking electricity to Yandev in Benue State spanning over 240 kilometres.
Aliyu added that the completion and generation of power from the Zungeru hydroelectric power plant was a milestone by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, who he said has demonstrated a commitment to further improving the power supply in the country.
On the Siemens project, the minister said that the ministry had already installed transformers in Abuja and Ajah in Lagos, adding that 10 massive mobile substations had been cleared.
“We have 10 of them at the port and the first one is in Ajah substation and some are also on the sea coming,” he disclosed, explaining that the Ministry of Power had earlier presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC), a contract for over 13, 000 kilometers distribution line.
Also speaking, the consultant for the project, Dr. Johnson Adewumi of Decrown West Africa Company Limited, said that the test run of the project was successfully done without any challenges
“The combined test protocol for Zungeru hydropower was carried out Wednesday till the early morning of Thursday. Generation with load started at 7 am on 25/5/2023 and was maintained till 1 am on 26/5/2023 under the control of the National Control Centre (NCC) and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
“We had engineers from the Federal Ministry of Power and Mainstream Energy in attendance. The plant was stable, there was no unusual vibration and all monitoring equipment produced results consistent with technical specifications. The plant achieved a peak capacity of 718MW, which is a good value,” he explained.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Sanusi Garba, stressed that the plant had significantly diversified Nigeria’s electricity supply mix.
“We are pleased to report that the technical commissioning of the Zungeru power plant has not only added 700MW of clean generation capacity but significantly diversified our generation mix and enhanced the nation’s security of supply.
“In compliance with the sector requirements under the reform agenda, the ministry has acquired a generation licence for NERC for the special purpose vehicle of the project. A market participation agreement has also been executed with the Market Operator (MO) thus ensuring that the power plant is set for commercial operation,” he noted.