NDPHC Seeks Support to Develop Small Hydro Plants
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) is seeking the assistance of the Ministry of Water Resources to develop small and medium hydro projects in the country.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of NDPHC, Mr Chiedu Ugbo, sought this support when he led the management team on a courtesy visit to the Ministry of Water Resources in Abuja.
Mr Ugbo explained during the visit that the company was looking at setting up small hydro plants on existing dams in the country, especially those in the northern part of 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 with regards to renewable so that we can start discussing with your ministry in earnest how we can develop small hydro resources around the country, preferably, in the northern part of the country because of the quality of electricity in the area”.
He noted that though the company has 10 power generation plants with eight linked to the national grid with about 4,099 megawatts, 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 4,099 megawatts but not all are taken in the grid due to systemic problems. If you check today, we have 500 – 700 megawatts on the grid. That is not to say our machines are bad, it is because of transmission and distribution challenges.
“In those areas too, NDPHC has done significant work. We pride ourselves on having invested about 50 per cent 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 unserved communities. We did 20,000 in the first phase called beyond the grid programme.
“We started the second 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 hydroelectric and the best way to start it is the dams.”
The NDPHC boss said the company was interested in the dams especially those with hydroelectric capabilities already installed or can be recovered.
On his part, the Minister of Water Resources, Mr Suleiman Hussein Adamu, who received the NDPHC team, explained that Nigeria has over 240 dams across the country with most having the capacity for hydropower.
The Minister, who pointed out that the dams have a capacity from 40MW and below, stated that most of the projects have been halted because of poor planning.
He said 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.