Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Nigeria to Strengthen Electricity Exchange with West African Countries

30 Oct 2012

PHCN Headquarters
By Chineme Okafor
Indications emerged Monday that Nigeria may be set to further its participation in an electricity transmission framework, which would see her exchange generated power with more countries in the West African sub-region.

The General Secretary of West African Power Pool (WAPP), Mr. Amadou Diallo, said within the framework, Nigeria would most likely export excess electricity generated in-country to countries such as Mali, Senegal, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in the sub-region and at the same time import from these countries through a transmission integration project being executed by WAPP at an estimated cost $26 billion (N4.03 trillion).
The amount, according to him, was required to fund an ambitious plan of WAPP to advance the region’s power generation and transmission infrastructure target over the next decade.
Under the plan, WAPP would also embark on the construction of an extensive power transmission network that would evacuate power from locations with excess power to other parts of the sub-region in need of electricity and also improve the regions generation capacity.
Diallo, at an interaction with journalists at the opening of a weeklong seventh WAPP General Assembly in Abuja Monday, said the fund would be expended within 2012 and 2025 to put up critical power generation and transmission infrastructure needed by member states of the region.
He said: “The $26 billion is what we plan for between 2012 and 2025. Part of it is for power generation and part of it is transmission. We have so far mobilised $4 billion and that is under implementation on transmission. We are trying to mobilise for hydro generation.”
Diallo, who gave details of Nigeria’s current posture in power trade-off with her neighbours said: “Nigeria is exchanging power now with other countries such as Togo, Benin, Ghana, Cote D’Ivoire, and Niger and very soon to Mali, Senegal and other countries like Liberia and Guinea.
“The interconnectivity system we are putting in place is to put all ECOWAS member states together through the electrical transmission network. Right now we have Nigeria, Benin Togo, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, Mali, Senegal and Mauritania interconnected through the inter-region. We are also working on some hydro power plants in Mali and working for the rehabilitation of Jebba in Nigeria.”
In his explanation of Nigeria’s justification for trading power with other countries when she can barely meet her electricity needs, Diallo stated: ‘’By saying that Nigeria is giving power to those who have better than them, I think you have to soften it because it is not really the truth, you cannot give power to a country who have more than you have.”
Similarly, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr. Olusola Akinniraye, debunked insinuations of Nigeria’s power trade-off with her neighbours.
He said: “I would not want to subscribe to that notion that they have more power than us. First and foremost, it is a little bit impossible that we can be giving out much more than we need.
“The issue of giving power to our West African sub-region is part of what we look at as integration. It is because the market has not really grown to a mature state, otherwise, if look at Europe, at different times between France and United Kingdom, they have the interconnecting lines.
When a particular country needs more and they have more than required at that particular time in another country they send to that end. So it is two ended thing that you can pass power on both sides. This is the ultimate aim of the West African Power Pool, we don’t supply more to these countries than we actually use.”
WAPP is a cooperation of national electricity companies in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sub-region that was founded in 2000 and works towards establishing a reliable power grid for the region and a common market for electricity. So far, 11 out of the 15 ECOWAS member states have their transmission network interconnected on the WAPP platform.