We’ll Surmount Power Sector Challenges -Adelabu

By Sunday Etuka, Abuja

The Minister of Power, Chief Adebayo Adelabu has assured that although faced with multifaceted challenges in the power sector, the current administration has resolved to overcome them.

Chief Adelabu gave the assurance in his Keynote Address at the BusinesDay Energy Conference on Friday in Lagos, with the Theme: “Powering Nigeria’s Energy Future”.

The Minister acknowledged that the administration journey to developing the sector infrastructure thus far has not been without its hurdles.

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He listed unreliable gas supply and quality, inadequate generation supply, aging transmission network, inefficient distribution networks and recently a need for a diversified energy mix to achieve the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan ambitions of 30% renewable energy mix from 30GW by 2030, as some of the challenges facing the sector.

However, he noted that to address the Nigeria power sector infrastructure challenges, the government has embarked on several strategic initiatives designed to enhance sustainable energy development both in the short-term and long-term aimed at transforming the sector.

On addressing generation capacity challenges, the Minister said, “we are committed to both enhancing current generating assets and investing in new power plants. Our focus is on harnessing the rich diversity of our natural resources, from hydro to solar and beyond.

“Recently, generation capacity to the grid has been expanded with the addition of 700MW newly commissioned Zungeru hydropower plant.

“We have also secured Presidential approval to defray legacy debts to gas companies to allow efficient gas supply to the power sector going forward and a payment mechanism to address Generation Companies debts to ensure necessary maintenance are resolved and evacuation capacity optimization.

“With this effort, we aim to not only increase our generation capacity but also improve the efficiency and reliability of our power supply”, he said.

Adelabu stated further that to ensure the upgrade of transmission and distribution networks, the Ministry is actively working through the Presidential Power Initiative on expanding the transmission grid to ensure it can handle the increased load from our new generation sources. “Simultaneously, we are supporting efforts targeted at modernizing our distribution networks to reduce losses and improve the quality of power delivered to consumers. In the last one-year, an additional 463MW transmission evacuation capacity has been added to the grid through this initiative.

“This was made possible through the signing of an accelerated performance agreement in Nov 2023 supervised by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Additionally, the government has put in place the required framework to enable an injection of 1.5 million meters into the power sector through the World Bank Distribution Support Recovery Program.

“The Presidential Metering Initiative will ensure an additional 2 million meters will be procured annually for 5 years. This will ensure accurate billing, reducing revenue loss and improving cash flow for a more liquid power sector”, he said.

On renewable energy penetration and off-grid solution, the Minister said, “the Federal Government is about to commence the World Bank Distributed Access through Renewable Energy Scale-up (DARES) $750 million facility to increase access to electricity for 2.5 million people through deployment of solar home systems and mini grids to households, MSMEs throughout Nigeria, educational and health facilities.

“This is in addition to the recently concluded $550m Nigeria Electrification Plan which has bridged the energy access deficit by providing electricity to over 1.1 million households, MSMEs, educational and healthcare facilities in unserved and underserved rural communities.

“We believe that the global shift towards renewable energy is not just an environmental necessity but an economic one. Nigeria is blessed with abundant renewable resources, and we aim to continue tapping into these renewable sources to diversify our energy mix, reduce our carbon footprint, and ensure energy security”, he said.

He announced that “to ensure the sector’s policy and regulatory framework is aligned and enhanced, the government has commenced the development of a National Electricity Policy and Strategic Implementation Plan to provide a comprehensive framework for the nation’s electricity sector to support innovation, research, and development in the sector and chart a sustainable path forward in Nigeria’s electricity industry.

“The government believes that a supportive policy and regulatory environment are essential for sustainable energy development and the government is committed to creating policies that encourage investment, foster innovation, and ensure fair competition in the energy sector.

“We are beginning to see some progress from the outcome of the government’s initiative in the last one year. However, we will not relent until we have a resilient and efficient electricity sector that meets the needs of all Nigerians”, Chief Adelabu stated.

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