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Can Nigeria Afford to Sell Unused Electricity to Other African Countries?

 

Despite electricity challenges, the government is in talks with four West African countries to sell unused electricity to them through a planned U.S.$570 million Northcore Power Transmission Line.

According to reports, about 2,000 megawatts of electricity is said to be unutilised daily across the Generation Companies (GenCos) in Nigeria and could be exported. “The power we will be selling is the power that is not needed in Nigeria. These generators that are going to supply power to this transmission line are going to generate that power specifically for this project. So it is unutilised power”, said Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz, acting managing director of the Transmission Company of Nigeria.

Nigeria has been plagued by the poor supply of electricity for years and this has impacted negatively on the economy. Besides working toward a reliable supply, the other challenges include reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and keeping electricity costs within reach of consumers.

 

The federal government, represented by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) along with Togo, Burkina Faso and the Niger Republic, yesterday commenced a high-level meeting in Abuja, to put final touches to the execution of a planned $570 million transmission line which runs across the four countries.

Speaking during the opening ceremony last night, acting Managing Director of the TCN and Chairman, Executive Board of the West African Power Pool (WAPP), Mr. Sule Abdulaziz, disclosed that unused electricity within the country will be taken to the participating countries through the Northcore Power Transmission Line.

He noted that the question as to whether the country is selling its generated power to other countries when it doesn’t have enough does not arise, noting that unutilised power generated daily will be exported to avoid waste.

According to him, the project will be completed in about two years, with funding from international financial organisations in collaboration with the participating countries which will be disbursed after the contract signing ceremony.

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He said: “The power we will be selling is the power that is not needed in Nigeria. These generators that are going to supply power to this transmission line are going to generate that power specifically for this project. So it is unutilised power.”

Abdulaziz noted that Nigeria is expecting new generators to participate in the energy export for the 875 kilometre 330 kilovolts transmission line from Nigeria through the three other countries, adding that jobs will be created while Nigeria will earn foreign exchange.

He noted: “In addition, there are some communities that are under the line route, about 611 of them, which will be getting power so that there won’t be just a transmission line passing without impact.”

Abdulaziz said the project funded by World Bank, French Development Council and the African Development Bank (AfDB), has recorded progress and that the energy ministers will be addressing security issues for the project at a meeting in Abuja today.

“Nigeria has the greatest advantage among these countries because the electricity is going to be exported from Nigerian Gencos. So, from that, the revenue is going to be enhanced and a lot of people will be employed in Nigeria,” he said.

In his comments, the Secretary-General of WAPP, Appolinaire Ki said that when the facility becomes operational, there will be continuous feedstock, assuring that the funding agreement is ready as participating countries await the disbursement.

He noted: “The cost is about $570 million and the part of the investment in each country is funded by the country and they are supported by the donors and Nigeria are taking its own.

“However, the donor agencies had said they needed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between the buying and the selling countries to be executed before releasing the fund.

“So, we will be addressing the ministers on this, so they can talk to the donors to remove this condition for disbursing the fund and let’s go on with the implementation.”

The WAPP executive noted that security was a major issue in the execution of the project, explaining that the body was discussing ways of incorporating the security agencies to mitigate threats that may be posed by criminals

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Written by PH

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