‘Insecurity threatens regional power project’
Electricity generating companies ((GenCos) in Nigeria are planning to export more electricity to the West African bloc as hope rises for a 330 KV transmission project.
The project, expected to improve electricity interconnection among key West African countries, especially Nigeria, Benin Republic Togo and Burkina Faso, will according to the Managing Director/Chief Executive of Transmission Company of Nigeria, Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz, enable Nigeria to export more electricity and improve revenue generation, especially foreign exchange.
Although an age-long agreement had compelled Nigeria to supply electricity to some neighbouring countries, the power generating companies (GenCos) had reported losses in the region of N1.2 trillion to poor capacity utilisation and the country’s inability to transport over 21,184.62 megawatts of electricity to end-users.
The implication is that while electricity is generated, Nigeria has no adequate infrastructure to send the energy to homes. It, therefore, becomes a waste in the absence of storage system.
With the new project, being championed by the West African Power Pool (WAPP), stranded electricity may be dispatched to other countries with capacity for utilisation.
Abdulaziz, who chaired WAPP, noted that the project was faced with insecurity challenges, as well as impact of COVID-19. These challenges, according to him, are affecting the projected completion of the World Bank-sponsored plan.
He said: “Nigeria has the greatest advantage among these four countries because the electricity is going to be exported from Nigerian generators. These are companies generating power in Nigeria. So, from that, the revenue is going to be enhanced and a lot of people will be employed in Nigeria.”
The 875 kilometres ‘North core’ project, according to Abdulaziz, remained on tract but added that while a consultant has been engaged and produced security report around the challenges, energy ministers in the region are already considering sustainable leeway.
“The issue of security is a great concern of this project, and it is part of the issues we are discussing with the ministers tomorrow. There is a consultant that was engaged to come out with a security report. He did his job. We have shared this report to all the four countries, and they have looked at it, and now the ministers are going to decide which way to go. Already, they have made some good suggestions,” he stated.