The Niger Delta Power Holding Company, NDPHC, has solicited the collaboration of the Ministry of Water Resources for the setting up of mini-hydro plants across the country to boost power supply in Nigeria.
The Managing Director/CEO of NDPHC, Mr Chiedu Ugbo, explained during a visit to the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu in Abuja on Tuesday, that the company was looking at setting up small hydro plants on existing dams in the country.
Ugbo explained that NDPHC was looking at expanding its portfolio of renewable plants to complement its existing power plants in the country.
He said: “We are here to pay you a courtesy visit and at the same time let you know what our programmes are in regard to renewable so that we can start discussing with your Ministry in earnest on how we can develop small hydro resources around country, preferably, in the northern part of the country because of the quality of electricity in the area.”
He explained that though the company has ten power generation plants with eight linked to the national grid with about 4,099 mega watts, most are located in the southern part of the country and are unable to generate optimally due to poor transmission and distribution infrastructure.
According to him, “We have 4,099MW but not all are taken in the grid due to systemic problems. If you check today, we have 500-700MW on the grid. That is not to say our machines are bad, it is because of transmission and distribution challenge.
“In those areas too, NDPHC has done significant work. We pride ourselves as having invested about 50 percent of the transmission assets in the country. We have invested heavily in transmission and distribution assets all over the country, in every state.
“We have also invested in solar home systems. We started from not just underserved but un-served communities. We did 20,000 in the first phase called beyond the grid programme. We started the second the phase in Kazuare Emirate in Bauchi State with 100,000 connections.
“But having developed our thermal plants reasonably, we thought it is time to move to the next phase of our project development and that phase is where after optimizing gas resources, we have to optimize other resources we have for power generation.
“In renewable energy, we are working on solar, not just stand alone but also mini-grid and on utility scale, that is on one side. We also thought that part of the programme is the hydro electric and the best way to start it is the dams”, he added.
The NDPHC CEO said the company was interested in the dams especially those with hydro electric capabilities already installed or can be recovered.
Speaking during the meeting, the Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Adamu explained that Nigeria has over 240 dams across the country with most having the capacity for hydro power.
The Minister who pointed out that the dams have the capacity from 40MW and below, stated most of the projects have been halted because of poor planning.
He explained that most irrigation projects in the country require a lot of water which also needs a lot of electricity to operate.
He, therefore, urged NDPHC to support the projects by installing solar projects in the irrigation areas.