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Testing begins on 700MW Zungeru hydroelectric power plant – FG

The Federal Government, on Sunday, announced that testing has commenced on the 700 megawatts Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant ahead of the evaluation of electricity from the facility to the national grid.

It also stated that the $1.3bn project, located in Niger State, had been connected to the national grid, in contrast to claims in some quarters that the plant was not connected to the grid.

The Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, disclosed this while providing answers to industry questions contained in a document released in Abuja on Sunday by his Special Adviser, Strategic Communication and Media Relations, Bolaji Tunji.

The Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant is a major infrastructure project with the capacity to generate 700MW, making it the second-largest hydroelectric plant in Nigeria, behind the Kainji Dam.

Located in the Kaduna River, near the town of Zungeru in Niger State, the plant is to generate 2.64 billion kilowatts-hour of electricity annually, meeting nearly 10 per cent of Nigeria’s domestic energy needs.

The plant provides flood control, irrigation water and fish breeding facilities and its construction partners include the consortium of Chinese firms (Sinohydro Corporation Limited and China National Electric Engineering Company).

Industry analysts say the project is expected to be a significant boost to Nigeria’s power generation and is to contribute to economic development in the region.

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Providing answers to enquiries about the plant on Sunday, Adelabu said the facility had been completed, adding that its concession process had also been completed.

He said, “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.

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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.

”Recall that in May 2023, The PUNCH reported that the Federal Government stated that it had connected the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant to the national grid, giving a boost to Nigeria’s power generation.

The former Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu, had announced the connection of the plant to the grid during a send-forth ceremony organised by power sector officials for him, and the former Minister of State for Power, Goddy Jedy-Agba, in Abuja.

“I want to say that today the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant has become a reality. We have today joined the grid with 700MW. The testing started last night and information has reached us, with a pictorial view of the meters showing that the 700MW 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 had stated.

(C) Punch

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