FG to Tackle Electricity Challenges Holistically – Minister

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The Federal Government has said it has adopted a holistic approach towards addressing the infrastructural decay and other challenges in the power sector.

The Hon. Minister of power, works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, disclosed this, when he played host to visiting assessment delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Abuja.

According to the minister , who was represented by the Hon. Minister of State for the ministry, Hon. Mustafa Baba Shehuri, various steps are being taken, not only to tackle the problems of generation, transmission and distribution, but also to ensure that the right facilities are installed by certified qualified technocrats.

 

While acknowledging the contributions of donor agencies in the Power Sector, he said support in loan agreement in the sum of $273 million (about N 103, 194 billion) has been earmarked for Nigeria Bulk Trading Company to provide partial risk guarantee for the off-taker and also the $200 million (about N 54, 600 billion) from the African Development Bank for grid upgrade plan is also concluded for the Transmission Company of Nigeria.

Speaking on the government’s planned energy mix as contained in the Road Map document, the minister said that the plan was to have a robust mix that will increase the use of coal, hydro, solar, even more gas to power, bearing in mind that energy in large quantum would be required for individual uses, household access and indeed spread of electricity access across the vast country.

He said, “Government had taken bold steps to harness the solar powered projects by signing off on the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), with 14 companies located in 9 states and FCT .This will bring to the national grid 1,150MW of solar energy.

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“We are expecting that at end of the year, our generating capacity will be over 6,000MW by end of 2016, 10,000MW in 2019 and 30,000MW in 2030”.

The Minister said the Buhari administration has demonstrated its firm commitment to the diversification of the economy by moving it away from over-dependence on oil.

In his contribution, the Permanent Secretary, (Power), Louis Edozien, said that the sector’s challenge now occasioned by incessant vandalism of the gas infrastructure, has necessitated the development plan which identified stages of growth from 2017 to 2030, on the premise that vulnerability of gas supply will be radically addressed.

He said a lot of new renewable energy sources would soon come upstream, citing the 40MW Gurara dam in Kaduna State, the 40MW Kashimbilla dam in Taraba, 10MW wind farm in Katsina and 30MW phase one of Kudendan dual fired plant in Kaduna-State.

On the new Rural Electrification Implementation Strategy before the President, the Permanent Secretary said the document contains a change in focus from the grid expansion to a more decentralized format that would emphasize micro grid to be fed from solar and small hydros, which would be off-grid.

At an event organised by the Nigeria Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) in Abuja last week to flag off certification of electrical contractors in the country, the minister also stated categorically that the government was working tirelessly to stamp out quackery in the installation of electrical facilities as well as procurement of substandard electrical equipment.

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