Adelabu: Only 1.7% of Nigeria’s 3.6GW Hydropower Dams Currently Utilised

Emmanuel Addeh in Abuja

The Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, yesterday disclosed that just 1.7 per cent or just 0.06 per cent of the current available 3.6GW of hydropower was deployed at the moment.

Speaking at the Africa High-level Roundtable on Sustainable Hydropower in the African Renewable Energy Mix of the 21st Century in Abuja, the minister stressed that while the country has a hydropower potential estimated at 14GW, only about 15 per cent has been explored, signifying huge untapped potential in hydropower across Nigeria.

At the event organised by the African Development Bank (AfDB), Adelabu stated that Africa is a continent blessed with immense resources, among which are vast untapped water systems which hold the key to unlocking a clean, reliable, and abundant source of energy.

Quoting the International Energy Agency (IEA), Adelabu stated that over 600 million Africans (or 43 per cent of the total population) currently lack access to electricity with Nigeria having the bulk of the population estimated to be over 85 million by the World Bank.

Stressing that this not only hinders economic growth but also impacts basic human capital development on the continent, he argued that Africa’s hydropower potential is estimated to be around 340 GW, of which only 11 per cent (less than 40MW) is exploited.

According to him, this is when compared to 53 per cent in Europe, 39 per cent in North America, 26 per cent in South America and 20 per cent in Asia.

This gap, he said, presents a tremendous opportunity for responsible and sustainable hydropower development to improve energy access on the continent while increasing the renewable energy penetration in the energy mix.

“In Nigeria, hydropower has been a substantial contributor to the energy supply mix for some decades, accounting for about 20 per cent of total grid supply today. Currently Nigeria has completed key hydropower projects such as 760MW Kainji hydropower, 578MW Jebba hydropower, 600MW Shiroro hydropower, 40MW Mabon hydropower project and the recently commissioned 700MW Zungeru hydropower and 40MW Kashimbila hydropower.

“Nigeria is rich with an abundance of water resources along the different basins of the country. Whilst the country has a hydropower potential estimated at 14GW, only about 15 per cent has been explored. This signifies huge untapped potential in hydropower across Nigeria.

“The country has over 340 dams spread across different geo-political zones, under the management of the three government tiers and many are not optimally utilised or at risk of damage.

“ For the small hydropower, a multitude of river systems, providing about 70 micro dams, 126 mini dam and 86 small sites, supply a technically exploitable capacity of 3.5GW, but only 1.7 per cent (0.06GW) of these resources is currently being tapped,” he added.

In line with the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan, the minister stated that the federal government aims and is committed to achieving sustainable energy access target for all by 2030 by ensuring 30GW of electricity is available by 2030; 30 per cent of which is generated from renewable energy sources.

He stated that this is important to ensure Nigeria achieves its updated Nationally Determined Contribution from 2021 to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by cutting emissions by 20 per cent in the year 2030 unconditionally (and 45 percent with international support) from business-as-usual levels.

To achieve this, the federal government, he said, is currently exploring a Sustainable Power and Irrigation Project for Nigeria (SPIN) with the World Bank to improve utilisation of existing storage for irrigation and hydropower generation and strengthen institutional arrangements for integrated water resources management in Nigeria.

“SPIN aims to unlock additional 10GW combined capacity from existing dams with provision for hydro but not fitted, partially incomplete dams with provisions for hydropower, Greenfield projects and existing multipurpose dams that can be modified/redesigned and retrofitted.

 “While acknowledging the immense potential for hydropower development in Africa, it is important to also consider responsible development. We must address environmental concerns around dam construction and ecosystem disruption, alongside social impacts on local communities.

“This requires a commitment to sustainability, stakeholder engagement, and innovative solutions to financing these large-scale projects. Despite these challenges, I firmly believe that Africa can unlock the true potential of hydropower,” he averred.

 The minister stated that Nigeria owes it a duty to the ‘unenergised’ and ‘under energised’ population an achievable pathway towards a sustainable and prosperous future.

  “By harnessing the power of our waters responsibly, we can illuminate homes, empower  businesses, and propel our economies onto the global stage. Let us stand united in our commitment to develop, utilise, and manage our hydropower  resources in a way that benefits current and future generations.

 “This is not just about building dams; it’s about building a brighter future for Africa. A future  powered by clean energy, driven by innovation, and fuelled by collaboration,” he said.

Related Articles