The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and West African Power Pool have commenced the process for the construction of a second 330 kV transmission line to boost electricity supply to the Republics of Benin and Togo.
The Interim Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of TCN and Chairman of WAPP, Mr. Usman Gur Mohammed made this known in his speech at a meeting to kick-off the Line Route and Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) Study on the project on Friday, 22nd September 2017, in Abuja.
Mr. Mohammed stated that the second 330KV Ikeja West transmission line to Sakete in Benin Republic was necessary as the first could soon be constrained as demand for more power from the Nigerian grid increases.
He explained that the project was conceived by WAPP and supported by New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) facility in the African Development Bank, adding that ESIA study would be conducted in six months, after which the construction would take another 24 months and should be ready by 2021.
The MD noted that TCN has achieved remarkable system stability following the implementation of free governor frequency responsive control action, which has heightened the prospects for the interconnection of the Nigerian Grid Network with those of the neighbouring countries.
According to him, “TCN is no longer the weakest link in the power value chain in Nigeria as it is fast-tracking the implementation of many power projects. The Transmission, Rehabilitation and Expansion Programme (TREP) seeks to expand the grid to about 20,000 megawatts in the next three years.”
Mr. Mohammed also explained that TCN had embarked on a nationwide installation of power transformers, noting that three of the power equipment were installed in Lagos last week, two scheduled for the North, while another three would be installed in the Port Harcourt region soon.
“As the biggest financial contributor to WAPP,” the TCN MD said, TCN was interested in strengthening WAPP by supporting not only the network expansion programmes, but, also institutional reforms aimed at re-positioning WAPP.
In his remarks at the occasion, the Permanent Secretary (Power), Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Louis Edozien, said that the Nigeria government was committed to delivering electricity to ECOWAS Sub region for the integration of the market which is the essence of WAPP without jeopardizing the primary responsibility of satisfying the local market.
Mr. Edozien, who appealed to the Communaute` Electrique du Benin (CEB) to settle its accumulated electricity debt, noted also that, since the Nigerian Electricity Industry has moved from a vertically integrated government monopoly to an industry managed by private investors, it was necessary to move CEB contract from government multilateral agreement to proper Power Purchase Agreements (PPA), with the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Company (NBET).
According to him, as energy need from Nigeria continues to expand, government is working out regulatory frame work to ensure that they buy power directly from any of the generation companies. He expressed confidence that the meeting is part of the first steps towards achieving this project in 2021.
On his part, the Director General, CEB, Dr. Karimou Sika, appreciated the Nigerian government and WAPP for the project and stated that it would provide an opportunity to sustain the Republics of Benin and Togo power system and ensure a more stable supply of electricity to their countries.
Goodwill messages were delivered by the President of ECOWAS Commission, Representative of Mainstream Energy and Sahara Energy. The meeting was attended by representatives from Ministries in charge of Energy in Nigeria, Togo and Benin, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), WAPP Secretariat staff and WSP Canada, the Consultants handling the studies.
By Eric Ephraim Ene