Nigeria unveils plan to develop energy

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To effectively meet Nigeria’s power needs by 2020, the country will need to spend US$ 85 billion, so said the Presidential Committee on Power Sector Reforms Tuesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital, when it presented a report to President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

In the report, according to Wednesday’s edition of the privately-owned Punch newspaper, The committee, headed by the Honorary Adviser to the President on Petroleum, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman, outlined measures needed for the short-term, medium-term and long-term interventions in the troubled sector, over which the President would very soon declare a state of emergency.

According to the report, “Between now and 2020, we projected that we need to spend close to US$ 85 billion to realise our dream. This does not include money required for gas infrastructure, which would also be massive.

“The plan here is for power, but there would be required a sort of equivalent gas infrastructure for them to be able to service all these thermal stations that are going to constitute about 67 per cent of the requirement.

“This money has to be spent between now and 2009 to be able to guarantee those shortfalls, because without spending this, those shortfalls would be more because they would not be able to provide the infrastructure required for gas supply to the power stations.”

Lukman explained that from the committee’s findings, several years of neglect owing to poor maintenance culture and inadequate manpower support had weakened the power sector.

According to him, the average age of generation stations and substations in the country is 25 years.

The recommendations involve plans for a phased improvement in the generation, transmission and distribution capacity of the power sector.

The short-term plan outlined measures to increase power generation from the current 1,800 megawatts to 6,000 mw by 2009, by investing US$ 3.5 billion.

In the medium-term phase, it is expected that an investment of US$ 10 billion would increase power generation to about 10,000 mw within five years.

It is expected that the Yar’Adua administration would be completing the National Integrated Power Projects by the medium term, and also initiate the construction of new power stations.

Also in the medium-term phase, independent power plants would come into effect, while coal, solar and wind would be effectively harnessed for additional power generation.

The committee also hinted that before 2009, about US$ 90 billion would be required to develop the country’s gas infrastructure, which is expected to constitute a bout 67 per cent of the source of the anticipated electricity generation.

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