The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to purchase power from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The move is aimed at reaching out to countries with higher generation capacity and those with very ambitious electricity generation programmes to boost supply.
Congo is fine-tuning work to expand electricity generation to over 40,000mw from dams through the ‘Grand Inga’ mega-project. Experts estimate that the project could provide 40 per cent of Africa’s electricity needs.
It is expected to become the world’s largest hydro project and could provide more than 500 million people with renewable energy when completed, according to available information on the Congo project.
The Minister of State for Power, Mohammed Wakili, said at an investors’ conference organised by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) in Abuja Monday that some of the electricity to be bought from Congo would also be exported to some neighbouring countries where Nigeria’s transmission network expands to.
He added: “Nigeria is in bilateral and multilateral relationships at various stages of advancement with other governments for the importation and exportation of power. For example, Nigeria has signed MoU with Democratic Republic of Congo for the importation of electricity from the Inga Dam Power Plants, for both local consumption and export to other countries.
“The Inga is envisaged to exceed 40,000mw on full exploitation. TCN network spreads to all parts of the country and across the border to some neighbouring countries to form part of the West African Power Pool (WAPP).
“With the realisation of Inga and other initiatives, Nigeria will become a regional hub in international electricity trade, exporting large swathes of internally-generated as well as imported power to WAPP countries.
On Nigeria’s local generation, he stressed how vandalism had been a very big problem but was optimistic that things will improve for the country to reach about 4,500mw.
He noted that the conference was put together to lure foreigners to invest in transmission.
Wakili, who earlier presented a speech on behalf of the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, stressed that the reforms in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) presents huge opportunities for investment.
He said: “The Federal Government has taken steps to improve and sustain gas supply to existing prospective power plants.
“The foregoing measures will greatly ramp up the total generation on the TCN grid, necessitating the massive and rapid expansion of the transmission and other infrastructure. It is projected that TCN requires $8 billion in the next five years to prosecute its capacity expansion programme. We hereby invite all and sundry to partake in this investment bonanza. Government has established various mechanisms to safeguard and protect your investments in TCN and elsewhere in the NESI.”
He added: “The electricity supply industry has undergone radical changes. Traditionally, the NESI involved itself with the generation, transmission and distribution of electric power, usually by vertically-integrated utilities.
“For Nigeria, the main features of the reforms are to expose the erstwhile vertically-public utility to competition in the generation and distribution and to move the power sector from the then centralised structure towards a decentralised structure. This administration will provide the enabling environment and level-playing ground for all comers to engage in every aspect of the electricity business with security of portfolio.”