Gas Independence is Not the Way to a Secure Future

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In West Africa, the Federal Government of Nigeria has said that sole-reliance on gas cannot solve the country’s existing electricity challenges.

This statement was made by the Acting Chairman of Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC), Chinedu Ugbo, on behalf of the Minister of Power, Works And Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, during a conference in Lagos State, Business News reported.

According to Ugbo, efforts are being concentrated to upgrade existing generation infrastructure rather than impetus placed on the current dependency on gas-to-power.

Nigeria to focus on embedded generation

Ugbo said that distribution companies need to invest in embedded generation within their areas of jurisdiction, while adding that a significant portion of coal should be part of the country’s future generation mix, media reported.

Ugbo noted: “I am pleased to say that the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading, NBET, is working on a suitable tariff for coal-to-power that will form the basis of a Power Purchase Agreement.

“Although you may not see it, but it is at the point of negotiating tariff with power providers that Government, through NBET and Nigeria Electricity Regulation Commission, NERC, begins to protect the interest of consumers.”

He added: “Gas is our most reliable source of power, yes, but it is only one solution among many other under-utilised solutions.”

According to media, Ugbo said that Nigeria currently has no coal-fired power plants and negligible coal production, despite it having reserves in Kogi, Benue and Enugu states.

Business News reported: “The government projected that coal is expected to generate 1,000MW, of power by 2020 to supplement other fuels currently used in power generation.”

Media added that two prospective coal-fired power plants are in the pipeline for the Enugu state by Nigerian and Chinese investors for 500-1,000MW.

The acting chairman noted: “Mambila Power Station, for example, is likely to be our most defining in the road to incremental power. Situated in Taraba State, it will potentially add 3,000MW to the grid and yet this is a hydro-electric project, not gas.”

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