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Fact Check: 400MW power in Kano: Project may gulp N129bn, has thin feasibility

The Kano State gubernatorial candidate of the Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), Abdulsalam Abdulkareem Zaura, in his 26-point agenda, has said his government will generate…

The Kano State gubernatorial candidate of the Green Party of Nigeria (GPN), Abdulsalam Abdulkareem Zaura, in his 26-point agenda, has said his government will generate 200 megawatts (MW) within the first two years and 400MW in four years. Daily Trust checked the feasibility of this promise in line with the extant provision of rules and regulations guiding the provision of electricity in Nigeria and found the success could be so thin.

To build a gas-fired plant that will generate over 400MW given the design, the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA) puts the cost of building a 1MW gas plant at $895,000 (about N323m).

Therefore, to achieve this promise, he will have to spend N129.2bn in four years; which is over 70 per cent of Kano State budget for 2019.

However, apart from the cost of running into hundreds of billions of naira, fuelling such a plant is still a mystery in the far northern state, where gas pipeline is flung off over 800 kilometres away in the South. Although the Federal Government, through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), is acquiring right of way for the Warri-Abuja-Kano gas pipeline, it could take years to achieve. Kaduna has been battling with a 215MW gas-fired project for over six years without success despite changing to diesel source.

To go the hydro power option will require huge construction capital too. The Kano State Government, under a former Governor, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, began a 35MW Independent Power Project (IPP) at Tiga and Challawa Gorge dams in 2013. The project cost was valued at N14.228bn, Kwankwaso had said. The hydro power projects followed a licence approval from the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).

The Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, during a briefing to mark the 2018 Democracy Day, said the plant could be ready in October, 2018, but that has not happened; about six years since it was flagged off.

With funding constraints and the capability of the national grid to take electricity efficiently, it would be a great hurdle for the realisation of 200MW in two years and 400MW in four years in Kano given that the state is not known for any large body of water to build such plant.

The third option is to deploy solar and other renewable mini grids in the state through initiatives by NERC and the Rural Electrification Agency (REA). Till date, there is no known solar project in Nigeria that has deployed up to 100MW on the national grid because of its huge cost.

The EIA puts the construction of 1MW of a solar power plant at $2.434m (about N878.7m).

Therefore, Zaura will need about N351.6bn investment to build the 400MW plant, representing nearly two years’ budget of the state.

About 14 private firms signed pacts with the Federal Government to deploy about 1,100MW across different states since 2014. However, the cost of selling that power to the national grid and to customers, as well as the technology involved, has stalled the projects.

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