By Temitope Ponle
Abuja – The Federal Government said that electricity generation from hydro sources could reach 19,000 megawatts if fully harnessed.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Ogbonnaya Onu said this at the 2018 Seminar on “Construction and Management of Water Conservancy and Hydro-power Project’’ organised by the Chinese Government in Abuja on Tuesday.
The two-week seminar aims to build the capacities of 50 Nigerian engineers in the area of hydro-power generation and maintenance.
Onu, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mr Bitrus Nabasu, said that Nigeria required a minimum of 160, 000 megawatts of electricity, but was currently generating 7, 000 megawatts.
He added that the seminar would support the Federal Government’s renewable energy master plan and further contribute to the development of the country’s power sector.
“Nigeria’s renewable energy master plan sets out a roadmap for increasing the role of renewable energy in achieving sustainable national development.
“The country’s projects realised 68, 000 megawatts from renewable energy sources alone, out of which small hydro-power is expected to produce 19, 000 megawatts.
“In realisation of this, the ministry in 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Centre for Small Hydro-power in China in implementing access of small hydro-power plants survey in Nigeria projects.
“This will be applied in bringing back to life some moribund small hydro-power plants spread all over the country.”
Mr Zhao Linxiang, the Economic and Commercial Counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, said that the seminar was the first of its kind to be organised by his government in the country.
According to Zhao, the training is expected to meet the needs of Nigeria’s power sector and enhance relations of both countries in the sector.
“Nigeria has a huge potential in hydro-power, the only problem is how to make use of the potential.
“This seminar will focus on power generation, especially hydro-power generation. Nigeria has many hydro-power stations and China is willing to share the technologies we use to contribute to the hydro-power sector.”
He further said that having more trained professionals and increased cooperation in the power sector would contribute to government’s efforts in developing the sector.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the significant gap between demand and supply of electricity in the country has led to recurrent power shortcuts.
Some of the challenges the sector experiences include limited technological know-how, energy efficiency practices and infrastructure maintenance.
Others include inadequate regulations and attacks on energy infrastructure. (NAN)