The minister of power Babatunde Fashola has said that the Federal Government is considering concessioning of six hydro dams to private operators under the build, operate, and transfer, BOT initiative.
The plan is along government thinking of raising power generation and expanding the drive in the renewable energy space.
Fashola, who made the disclosure in a keynote address at the 2018 pre-conference workshop of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Exploratinists (NAPE) in Lagos, yesterday said that the current component of grid power consists mainly of gas-fired power which is 85 per cent and hydropower 15 per cent and that there is the need to produce an energy mix that targets a 30 per cent component of renewable energy out of the gross energy produced by 2030.
According to him, “let me be clear and unequivocal by saying upfront that our commitment as a nation and government to pursue renewable and low carbon energy at low cost is clear, firm and unshaking
The minister said government recently approved an integrated energy mix targets under Electricity Vision 30:30:30 which targets generation of 30 GW in 2030, with 30 per cent from renewable energy sources.
“Africa has trillions standard cubic feet of natural gas reserves, billions of barrels of crude oil reserves and billions of tonnes of coal.
He said concessioning of the dams was aimed at energising educational institutions and markets in the country.
Fashola explained: “These are government-led initiatives based on the rural electrification plan approved by the President in 2016 to provide access to power for rural dwellers and vulnerable members of our society.
“We proposed to use six small hydro dams that had been abandoned for decades, Federal Government owned universities and some markets as anchors.
“Apart from the universities, where government is directly funding the intervention, the markets are being privately funded.
“There are currently 15 markets under contemplation with Ariaria, Sabon Gari and Sura markets in Aba, Kano and Lagos as flagships.
“Our thinking is simple. While the whole value chain and power privatisation gradually evolves, it is possible to create oases of success by showing to our children that they can have reliable power while in school.
“If that is a reason to get children to school and keep them there, certainly, no good business can oppose this.
“Indeed, it seems to me sensible to expect that the future of today’s business and even government rests solely on the quality of education that the current generations of students get.
“As for the markets, the 37,000 shops in Ariaria, about 13,000 in Sabon Gari, and about 1,000 in Sura represent SMEs, where the majority of our people earn a living,’’ he said.
“But this is not all. It is a commitment driven by necessity, contract, and policy,” he said.
The minister said that government has also matched its intent with actions such as signing 14 solar power purchase agreement (PPAs) with 14 developers with the potential to deliver over 1,000 MW of solar power.
“In addition to the necessity to diversify our energy sources from gas and provide some energy security, we are also driven to pursue renewable energy by contract.
He said that Africa must intensify efforts at improving transmission grid for renewable energy to be effectively developed on the continent.
Fashola said that Nigeria as a committed member of both the United Nation, African Union and ECOWAS has adopted several international treaties and policies which promote the use of renewable energy.
This, he said, was in line with the national vision to provide incremental power, and then steady and uninterrupted power.
Dr Andrew Ejayeriese, the President of NAPE said that Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa and the twenty-second globally, adding that it is projected that the economy could rise through the world ranking to top 10 in 2050 with a projected GDP of US46.4 trillion.
Ejayeriese said that to achieve this however, diversification of the economy from over-dependence on crude oil is required.
According to him, though fossil -fuels currently dominate the power sector, their share of the energy of the energy generation market is expected to decline to 57 per cent by 2035.
“With the rapid growth of renewable energy which account for 4 per cent 0f energy demand today (excluding large-scale hydroelectricity).
“By 2030 that could grow to about 14 per cent which is an exceptional rate of growth for the energy industry.
He said that the pre-conference is a forum where energy professionals, associates researchers, producers, suppliers policy markers, financial experts, investors, consumers and others stakeholders will discussed the contemporary challenges and available opportunities related to the increasing national and international demand for energy.