At the Executive Session of the Second National Council on Power, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola , SAN), appealed to state governments to consider, as a matter of urgency, the establishment of Ministries, Departments, Bureau or offices of Special Adviser on Energy as a specialized organ to co-ordinate, interface and interact with other stakeholders, as envisioned in the Electricity Power Sector Reform Act, 2005.
The Minister said in view of the lean resources available to states, it might not be expedient to set-up a full-fledged ministry, but rather a manageable outfit that would provide the link for the states to also take full advantage of privatization and the investment potentials available, as well as help solve some particular power issues in the various localities.
The Minister reported to the Council that appreciable progress had been made in the Road Map journey of incremental, stable and later un-interrupted power supply, which has been captured in the theme of the meeting.
Insisting that the relevance of the theme is informed by the fact that the country does not have enough power, hence the need to double efforts at production.
He added: “As a short term pool, what do we need to do to quickly address this supply shortfall?”
Fashola therefore called on State Governments to support the Federal Government by harmonizing this plan with their support.
On the generation segment in the value chain, projects like the 215 dual fuel plant in Kaduna State is expected to come up, with two units to be ready in less than a year from now.
This would add 30mw to the national grid, which would help to resuscitate the dying textile industry within the area in Kaduna.
Katsina 10mw wind-farm has reached advanced stage, work is also in progress in the 39mw Dadin Kowa Dam in Gombe State, while work has progressed on the private sector funded Azura plant in Edo State.
The Government, Fashola said, realized that more optimal utilization of gas resources would require the development of alternatives to pipeline disruption of natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas and natural liquids, informed the design of Kundadan Kaduna 215mw Power Plant, while the country is poised to diversify its independence on gas as an antidote to vandalism of the pipelines.
The Minister also rolled out efforts at enhancing transmission capacity to rise up to the challenge of being able to evacuate additional power to be produced in this short term plan.
He emphasized that as the sector moves to the next stage of stable power supply, what must be done as a matter of urgency is to collect and collate reliable data, adding: “We must know how many we are and how many we are going to be in the years ahead.
“This can only be through census – head count.
“It is after this exercise that we will know on an annual basis what additional population we must provide for, otherwise even if we increase supply, we may not have stable power.
“On the last leg, which is the un-interrupted power, we will emphasise on conservation and energy efficiency through energy saving building guidelines, which would now be incorporated into the National Building Code.
“Government must not also neglect the rural areas through its Rural Electrification programmes in order to improve rural economy through increased access by rural folks.”
Laoye Jaiyeola, in his goodwill message, said the Nigeria Economic Summit Group has shown interest in the sector’s efforts at developing a robust energy mix in conjunction with other stakeholders.
Also, the NESG, Jaiyeola said, has made considerable progress in the development of renewable energy with the understanding that it would provide opportunities for job creation and fill the gaps in the generation arm of the value chain.
Country representative of International Zusammenarbeit, Thomas Kirsch, who was represented at the meeting by Ina Hommers, said the agency has supported the Nigerian Energy Support Programme through funds provided by Germany and the European Union in areas of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Kirsch said GIZ will also provide fund for the proposed Data Management System Initiative and provision of resources for Rural Electrification projects across the country.
Other development partners like the Secretary General of West Africa Power Pool, Mustapha Cisse, said the sub-continental body has tried to tackle issues around power supply in the ECOWAS region.
Cisse said the theme of this year’s NACOP was in tandem with the integration of power supply issues to all classes of citizens, adding that WAPP wants stable and un-interrupted power supply in West Africa, with Nigeria taking the lead.
The Vice-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Senator Mustapha Bukar, spoke about the enormity of the problems power sector is currently facing.
Bukar said the legislature will assist with review of laws that will help fast-track new initiatives like the embedded power generation, adding that a structure must be put in place that will make embedded power generation more attractive to foreign investors, which ultimately will result in increased production of power to Nigerians.