GE to construct 10,000mw power plant in Nigeria
Feb 23, 2012 - www.businessdayonline.com
General Electric (GE), a leading global company, originating from the USA, is to construct a 10,000 mega watts power plant in Nigeria, Minister of Power, Barth Nnaji has said.
BusinessDay had reported exclusively last week that GE had commited to investing in Nigeria.
Nnaji said GE had set the ball rolling by its readiness to make such huge investment in Nigeria's power sector, adding that other investors could key into the project on the condition that "you use GE components for your project." He continued, "Identify what you want to do. You can begin a new project of your own, or get involved in an ongoing one."
Nnaji was speaking yesterday, while hosting the Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria, Ali Rifat Koksal, who led a high powered delegation comprising Turkish captains of industry on a courtesy call to the Ministry of Power. Accompanying the delegation also, was Ahmed Mallammadori, Nigerian Ambassador to Turkey.
Minister of Power, Barth Nnaji promised that the power sector would become a veritable brand ambassador for Nigeria in the next three years, given the commitment of government to restore sanity to the sector.
He noted that the present administration would want investors to clearly identify what they intended to do and begin work without delay, pointing out that existing templates in the sector made things easier for prospective investors.
Earlier, the Chairman and the CEO of Nata Group of Companies, Namik Tanik and Cuneyt Kandenir, respectively, had told the minister that Turkey was a world- known authority in infrastructure provision, large Mall construction, Wind Power, Petrochemicals, Refineries and Railway construction and that they came because their attention had been drawn to the emerging market in the Nigerian electric power sector.
They drew attention to the impact which Turkish technology had made in places like the Middle East, Russia and China, and promised to do the same in Nigeria.
In a related development, Barth Nnaji, minister of power, has said that government would explore several options ,including bond issue, to fund the country's super grid project and expansion of the national power grid.
Nnaji, who spoke on the funding of the project in an exclusive interview with BusinessDay in Abuja, noted that accessing the much needed financing for these big power projects, could not be done on regular budget cycles, adding that the potential for recouping investments on infrastructure such as transmission, was promising.
"There are various options for funding the super grid. One is to raise a bond issue, the other is to have a company from a country that could provide concessionary loans to us. Because you can always build infrastructure using cheap funds, you will be able to get it back but those big projects cannot be done on budget basis.
"We are not going to be able to do them on Federal Government budget but the filling of gaps for the 330 KV lines, 132 KV lines we will continue to do on budget. Just like this year, we have some of those on national budget," he explained.
President Goodluck Jonathan had in granting approval for the SuperGrid, directed that the $4 billion project should be funded as a federal asset with additional financing from private investors and international finance and development agencies.
It would be recalled that 69 percent of participants polled at the recent National Power Sector retreat in Abuja, believed that the industry's current progress on financing of power projects was behind, with major issues compared with the power sector's roadmap objective.
However, the minister described the prospects of accessing these anticipated options for the grid expansion and upgrade as "quite high".
He said: "Any power you put on the grid is metered and then there is a clip charge associated with it and we are privatising. Therefore, any company that puts power on the grid must pay for the power to be delivered to destination, or vice versa. A company that is buying power from a power plant must be able to transport the power to its destination, so either way, the power must be paid for, "Nnaji explained.
The high voltage super grid electricity transmission project was scheduled to come into operation by the first quarter of this year. The super grid is a wide area transmission network that makes it possible to wheel high volumes of electricity across great distances and is sometimes also referred to as a mega grid.
The government had last year approved $3.5 billion for the construction of the 700KV super grid, to shore up the power transmission capacity to 7,000 megawatts.
It will run along the same route as the existing 330/132KV grid and the government says it will address the nation's future energy challenges, including transition to more sustainable energy sources, reduction of power loss per transmitted megawatt and improving power voltage profiles across the country. So far targets set for 2011 failed to be reached.
The existing transmission lines have been a source of worry to the government as they have become weak.
A large amount of power generated in the various power stations is lost in transit, as a result of the poor transmission lines, leading to poor electricity supply.