Some foreign power investors are currently moving to improve Nigeria’s grid output as the country sustains investment especially in new energy space to support its fledgling grid network.
This is as GE Gas Power announces plan to invest in power asset that would deliver close to 500 megawatts (MW) of additional power into the national electricity grid by the second quarter of this year.
The energy firm, which focuses on providing equipment, solutions and services across the energy value chain, from generation to consumption, said it has three new projects that would deliver close to 500mw.
The firm listed them as the 240MW Afam III power plant in Port Harcourt, 50MW Maiduguri project with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) and another 50MW project for Dangote Group to support its cement and refinery plants, among others.
The President and Chief Executive Officer, GE Nigeria, Mr. Mohammed Mijindadi, disclosed this in Lagos during a roundtable session with journalists, with the topic, “Powering the Future of Energy in Nigeria with GE,” noting that 2023 is an exciting year for the company.
On the power generation side, he stated that GE’s services arm does optimisation of existing power plants and that this year alone, they would have at least three or four projects that would add additional megawatts into the national power grid.
“With regards to new projects, we actually do have three new projects that would add close to 500mw. We’re working to complete the Afam III power plant in Port Harcourt. That project is 240mw.
“We’re hoping that by the end of this first quarter or early second quarter, that project should be done. That is an important project because when it goes into talking about what GE is doing, I think we have crafted that project as a way to reduce the pressure on government from a balance sheet standpoint.
“So, we designed that project with a different structure. Unfortunately, we’ve been working on that project since 2016. With change in government, there had been adjustments and all of that, but we’re hoping that by end of this quarter or early second quarter, that should be done.”
“There is a 50mw project that NNPC is working on, it’s an emergency project in Maiduguri. That should also be done hopefully by the end of first quarter or early second quarter. And then, there is a project in Dangote Industries –a project they are building that is supposed to support their cement and refinery projects, also about 50mw. So, we have three projects in active construction that should be done by second quarter of this year,” Mijindadi said.
He, however, observed that Nigeria’s power sector was challenged by multiple factors, saying with the nation’s total installed generation capacity of about 13000mw, only between 3,500 to 5000MW were typically available for onward transmission to the final consumer.
According to him, this comes with extensive losses attributable to weak infrastructure and a high occurrence of significant technical and non-technical challenges.
“Main challenges facing the power sector include, insufficient transmission and distribution infrastructure, inadequate power industry investments and capacity expansion, absence of cost reflective tariffs, gas supply constraints, high incidences of load rejection and implementation of power sector reforms,” he added.
Mijindadi also stated that GE’s technologies have continued to serve Nigeria’s energy needs as the company’s built technologies deliver up to 65 per cent of the on-grid gas generation through gas turbines and grid equipment.
Commenting on the possibility of Nigeria actualising its net-zero target by 2060, he explained that energy sustenance and country’s survival should be uppermost before any transition since, according to him, one must exist before transiting.
“So, I think the government has some steps in place. I think when push comes to shove, what would lead the decision making would be the ability for government to be able to provide for the citizens and continue to be able to industrialise, and then, they would transit gradually as they go along.
“The interesting thing that happened when you think about this energy transition between COP26 and COP27 was the realisation by everyone that energy security trumps any transition and I think, we all learn the hard way through what is going on in Ukraine,” Mijindadi observed.