…Says FG Can’t Solve Nation’s Energy Sector Challenges Alone
EJIKEME OMENAZU, LAGOS
Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the Lagos State governor, on Wednesday said the quest by the country to achieve energy security can no longer be left for the Federal Government alone to address, just as he revealed plans by the state to attain 24-hour power supply through generation of 3000 megawatts of electricity by 2022.
Speaking at Lagos House in Ikeja after receiving the report of the Embedded Power Technical Committee constituted by the state government with representatives from the public and private sector, Governor Ambode said while the Federal Government continues in its efforts to resolve the power crisis, the sustainable solution to go forward would be the pulling together of commitment and resources of all stakeholders in the power value chain.
While explaining the rationale behind the embedded power initiative of the state government, Ambode said the major bane of the power situation in the country has always been with transmission, adding that the initiative was designed to permanently resolve power crisis in the State and by extension in the country.
He said: “The reason why we embarked on this initiative is that we believe strongly that if the power problem is solved in Lagos, it is technically solved in the whole of the country and so because Lagos has more or less tested a solution that works, we can scale this up and also address it on a national scale.
“The problem of power in Nigeria is the problem of transmission and that is the truth. Yes, we have generating companies and we have distributing companies and they say power is in the hands of the private sector but we know technically that that is not totally true.
“We also know that transmission is hundred per cent owned by government but we have tested here in Lagos and we have been able to provide 48 kilowatts of power without transmitting it which means that we generate and then distribute.
“So, if that works for 48 kilowatts, can we put Lagos into clusters and actually use embedded power initiative to drive the business of Lagos? That is what this initiative is all about and I want to thank all the stakeholders for submitting their business template into what government sees as the right step to take so that we can join hands together to say in the next two to five years, we can actually power Lagos and then grow our GDP.”
Ambode said the target of the state government is to generate up to 3,000MW of power through accelerated deployment of various embedded power plants in strategic locations in the state within three to five years.
Out of the 3000MW, the governor said 350MW would be delivered by Q1 2018, additional 850MW by Q4 2018, and the balance of 1,800MW not later Q3 2022, while the state government will support the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to be signed between the Distribution Companies and the embedded power providers, to enhance bankability of the projects.
He said the embedded power will be distributed off-grid within Lagos State through the network of Eko and Ikeja Distribution Companies, while the state government will support the Distribution Companies in upgrading their distribution infrastructure and installation of smart prepaid meters in the areas where embedded power is deployed.
Other areas of collaboration, according to the governor, would include support for collection, appropriate legislation and enforcement of power theft laws.
Ambode said his administration would collaborate with operators of oil blocks in the Lagos area to accelerate the extraction of gas feedstocks for power generation, adding that alternative sources of fuel would be explored to sustain uninterrupted power supply in the medium to long term, including partnerships on investments in gas pipeline infrastructure through the state’s owned oil and gas Corporation – Ibile Oil and Gas.
While recalling the success of the Light Up Lagos Project with installation of over 47,000 poles of street lights, and connection of about 67 communities in the Ibeju Lekki axis to national grid after about six years off grid under the rural electrification project, Ambode said another 32 communities in Badagry which have not had access to electricity for over sixteen years would be connected to the grid within the next 21 days.
Responding on behalf of Distribution Companies (DISCOS), Chairman of Eko Distribution Company, Mr. Charles Momoh, commended Ambode for the embedded power initiative, saying it was the best thing that has happened to Lagos State in recent times.
He also expressed the confidence of DISCOS in the ability of the governor to see to the success of the initiative.
Mr. Wale Oluwo, the Commissioner for Energy and Mineral Resources, said he was confident that the implementation of the report holistically would address electricity problem in the state.