Data from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) indicates that only four hydros exist among the 58 authorised Generation companies (Gencos).
Three of the hydros – Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro are operational. The fourth, the 40mw Dadin Kowa hydro in Gombe State, and the first private hydro investment are still ongoing. Another private investment in coal at the Ezuma Coal plant project in Itobe, Kogi State is also ongoing.
Further investigation also shows that 70 percent gas and 30 percent hydro energy source at present are not the best for Nigeria. This is because other countries have diversified and sustained sources of electricity generation other than gas.
For coal to power, Nigeria has zero, South Africa has 93% of coal in its mix. Poland has 87%, and China has 79% coal contribution to its electricity generation with the rest on hydropower.
Experts insist that the Chinese Three Gorges hydropower dam alone generates up to 22,000mw and poses as a huge model for Nigeria.
The present administration has identified the need to diversify the power sources more than before as the attacks on pipelines supplying gas to these power stations rise to its worst level this year.
Waziri Bintube, the acting Managing Director of the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET), had signed pacts with 14 companies that would construct solar power plants in nine states and generate 1,125mw into the national grid.
Bintube in an interview said the massive solar investment, worth N522 billion, was a revolution on diversifying the energy mix due to the present constraints on gas supply to the thermal stations.
He said Nigeria’s electricity supply presently relies on 86% gas-fired plants and 14% hydropower without any solar input, adding that it was coming at a time when gas supply was being challenged by vandals’ activities.
One of the firms, Nigeria Solar Capital Partners, said it was doing 135 megawatts (MW) plant in Ganjuwa LGA of Bauchi State valued at $200 million.
The first quarter national grid performance information released by the Nigeria System Operator (NSO) shows that the three hydros – Kainji, Jebba and Shiroro – were overstretched by contributing 26.57% of power generated in March when vandalism activities became more pronounced. Their contribution rose from the 22.54% obtained in the previous month.