By Salisu Na’inna Dambatta
Watching Mele Kyari’s enthusiastic efforts in implementing government policies aimed at gingering up the country’s electric power generation sub-sector is fascinating.
At the speed, he is going and if he gets the full support of the current administration to sustain the tempo, the country can in no distant future generate near-sufficient electricity for the benefit of all Nigerians.
While the Nigerian National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) has retreated without reaching its final destination of generating and distributing adequate electricity for Nigeria, it looks like the planned three thermal power generating plants tied to the 614-kilometre Ajaokuta-Kaduna-
Kano (AKK) gas pipeline can deliver the goods for Nigerians.
However, it is worthy of note that even as it is today, Mele Kyari’s Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Ltd is playing a major role in the country’s power generation.
This is because subsidiaries of NNPC Ltd are supplying the natural gas that fires more than two-thirds of the 30 power stations in the country.
The Power Sector Recovery Programme (PSRP) which was launched in 2017 is focused on revitalizing the country’s power sector through investments in infrastructure, governance, and
human capacity building.
One of its objectives is to increase the contribution of gas-fired power
plants to the national grid. It has positioned Mele Kyari-led NNPC Ltd in a pivotal role in the electric power sector.
The largest power-generating plants in Nigeria are fired by natural gas.
The stations are Egbin Power Station, a 1,320 MW-capacity station located in Lagos. The Alaoji Thermal Power
station of 1,074 MW capacity which is located in Abia state. There is also the Afam Thermal Power Station I-V which has an installed capacity to generate 987.20 MW. It is in Rivers State.
The Ughelli thermal Power plant with a capacity of 964.68 MW is located in Delta State. The Olorunsogo II Power Plant is located in Ogun state with a capacity of generating 750 MW of electricity.
All the 30 power stations, including the more than 20 that rely on gas from the NNPC Ltd do not generate electricity commensurate to the power requirement in the country.
It is to fill the gap that Mele Kyari is vigorously pursuing the construction of additional thermal plants tied to the AKK gas pipeline.
The groundbreaking ceremony by President Bola Tinubu on August 4, 2023, for the construction of Gwagwalada 350 MW (Phase 1) Independent Power Plant is commendable practical evidence that the Kyari-led NNPC Ltd and partners are committed to delivering the project.
The Gwagwalada Independent Power Plant will be fired by gas. It is expected to provide 11 percent of Nigeria’s electricity needs. Kyari said that it will be built in three phases.
The three thermal power plants tied to the AKK include the Gwagwalada plant which on completion will generate 1,350MW while the Kaduna station has a design capacity of 950 MW and Kano, 1,350MW.
The three upcoming plants which will be fired by natural gas are in line with the Gas Utilization Policy which was introduced to encourage the use of natural gas in power generation, transportation, and industrial processes. Its goal is to optimize the value of Nigeria’s vast gas resources and promote sustainable development.
In a previous event, the NNPC Ltd Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer assured that the laying and entire welding of the AKK pipeline would be completed before the end of 2023.
He said that when welding the pipes is completed, “we are going to commence the construction of the Power plants in earnest. It is a cumulative thing and gradually we will deal up to that capacity of 3, 650MW.
To naysayers, we will shame them; the project will be delivered. We are not scared of their comments.
The Gas and Power Investment Services (NGPIS), a business unit of NNPC Ltd, has demonstrated its efficiency in the execution of a gas-fired power project by completing the Maiduguri Emergency Power Project (MEPP) on schedule.
And going by the Maiduguri example of the timely completion of the 50 MW thermal power plant in the Borno state capital which was commissioned in March 2023 by past President Muhammadu Buhari, the credibility of Kyari’s promise to deliver the power plants tied to the AKK pipeline is not in doubt.