Ahead of the evaluation of electricity from the facility to the national grid, the federal government of Nigeria announced on April 7, 2024, the commencement of the testing of the 700 megawatts at the Zungeru hydroelectric power plant, Niger State. Adebayo Adelabu, the Minister of Power, revealed this information in a paper that Bolaji Tunji, his Special Adviser on Strategic Communication and Media Relations, issued in Abuja on Sunday. The document featured replies to industry inquiries. A massive infrastructure project, the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Facility can produce 700 MW of electricity, making it the country’s second-largest hydroelectric facility (after the Kainji Dam).


Almost 10% of Nigeria’s yearly energy demand will be met by this facility, which is situated on the Kaduna River close to Zungeru in Niger State and is expected to produce 2.64 billion kilowatt-hours of power. The Chinese enterprises Sinohydro Corporation Limited and China National Electric Engineering Company are part of a consortium that built the plant, which controls floods, supplies irrigation water, and has facilities for fish breeding. Experts in the field predict that this project will have a positive impact on the region’s economy and significantly increase Nigeria’s power generation.


According to Adelabu, “the payments by the concessionaire have been made, and the official handing over of this plant has been done to the concessionaire, which is Mainstream Energy Limited, who are the current operators of Kainji and Jabba hydroelectric power plants.


“The stage we are now in is technical handing over by the Chinese consultants that built the Zungeru hydroelectric power plant to the concessionaire. This is because there is a one-year defect liability, where these contractors need to be on the project site to ensure that whatever problem occurs within one year, they can fix it.


“They are working earnestly with the concessionaire and the Ministry of Power, together with the Bureau for Public Enterprise, to ensure that we conclude the technical handover of the plant. I can tell you that the testing stage started yesterday, that the power generation at the plant started yesterday, and that it will last about one or two weeks, after which total production will start. And I can tell you with good authority that the Zungeru power plant can evacuate power. Therefore, it is complete disinformation to say it is not connected to the national grid.


“I want to say that today the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant has become a reality. We have joined the grid today with 700 MW. The testing started last night, and information has reached us, with a pictorial view of the metres showing that the 700 MW has gone on the grid. Recall that the last two weeks we were there together with members of the National Assembly, including the Chairman, Senate Committee on Power. We all visited the site, and we are now putting power on the grid,” Aliyu expressed.


In May 2023, the Federal Government announced that it had linked the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant to the national grid, increasing Nigeria’s power generation. Abubakar Aliyu, a former minister of electricity, and Goddy Jedy-Agba, a former minister of state for power, were both honoured during a send-off ceremony in Abuja, where officials from the power sector announced the plant’s connection to the grid.


By Chidimma NWAFOR

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