Power: FG targets $3.07bn overhaul of transmission infrastructure

22 August 2013


The Federal Government says it is targeting a $3.07bn overhaul of the electricity transmission infrastructure in the country. The transmission infrastructure has been described as the weakest link in the country's electricity supply chain with lines that are aged, failing, dilapidated and in need of replacement.

Even if new invertors finally take over power assets and improve power generation in the country, inadequate transmission infrastructure will hinder complete transmission of power to consumers.

In view of this, the Federal Government, through the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, gave an indication that $3.07bn would, over time, be spent on increasing transmission capacity in the country. Nebo was recently quoted as saying that the Federal Government had sourced $1.47bn from the World Bank, African Development Bank, French Development Bank and the Chinese EXIM Bank for the improvement of the electricity transmission infrastructure.

The minster further said that the government would use the proceeds from the sale of the 10 National Independent Power Plants to overhaul transmission networks in the country. When put together, $3.07bn would be spent on transmission infrastructure.

Once the Federal Government effectively put the funds allocated for the TCN to use, the minister said the country would be able to transmit 10,000 megawatts of electricity.

Nebo said, "We might come up with 10,000MW and might be able to transmit all. That is why a huge sum of what is being realised as proceeds from the sale of the NIPP plants, about $1.6bn, has been set aside to finance transmission.

"In addition, the World Bank is funding (the transmission system) with $800m; the French Development Bank is funding it with another $170m. When you look at this, we will say there is a huge investment going on for transmission. We hope with these investments, we will be able to produce the 10,000MW and at the same time wheel it out for full distribution. I forgot to mention the $500m we got from the Chinese EXIM Bank, still for transmission."

Com menting on this development, the General Manager, Public Affairs, Transmission Company of Nigeria, Mr. Dave Ifabiyi, explained that the government's stand on the power sector reform was very clear; adding that the government was determined to liberalise the sector and attract investors, with a view to making electricity available to Nigerians.

He said, "To achieve this, the Federal Government is privatising the upstream and downstream of the power sector. That is the generation and distribution arms of the sector. For the transmission arm, Federal Government has concessioned it out to the Manitoba Hydro International to ensure superior management of the national grid, with world best practices.

"Therefore, to achieve this, transmission capacity has to be increased. New transmission lines and substations have to be constructed. Many power transformers and other equipment have to be procured. Since TCN will remain under the Federal Government, huge funding is required to achieve all these things." Ifabiyi expressed optimism that the government would not play politics with increasing transmission capacity in the country.

"This is because it is a known fact that transmission has to be strengthened since it is expected that the new owners of the generation and distribution companies will do the same. A weak transmission grid will make nonsense of all the efforts and investments put into the Power Sector Reform," he noted.

Original article by Dayo Oketola

Category: Energy

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