Nigeria must as a matter of principle and policy optimize the use of gas to provide electricity for Nigerians.
This was disclosed by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company, Chiedu Ugbo, in an interview on Friday.
According to him, the nation has serious demand for electricity and therefore, needs to harness gas and also increase other sources of electricity.
What NDPHC boss is saying about power generation
He said, “There is no two ways about that. Out of the 14,000 megawatts contracted to power generation firms by NBET (Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc), well over 85% of that are for gas thermal power plants.
“So what are you going to do with these plants if you are going to cut down to renewables? Also, where are we with regards to renewables? Again, I know it is government policy to increase renewables over time. But as of today, about 85 per cent of the contracted 14,000MW is supposed to be fueled by gas and we need to harness this gas, get electricity to consumers, develop our country and then begin to increase other sources of electricity.
“It has been stated that our electricity demand is somewhere around 28,000MW, perhaps we can then use other sources of renewables such as solar, small hydro plants and wind to develop the rest amount of electricity that is required.”
On whether the NDPHC also faces gas constraints like other GenCos, he explained that the NDPHC is positioned to be the biggest consumer of gas in Nigeria but he is not sure that it is the biggest consumer of gas in Nigeria at the moment.
“And this is essentially because we are constrained so much by lack of gas. The truth is that we have about 4,000MW installed capacity of electricity. At every point in time, that 4,000MW should give you at least 3,500MW to 3,600MW based on good site conditions. Also, at every point in time, we have at least 2,500MW available during maintenance and other situations.
“But as it is, we are severely constrained by lack of gas, which means there is a need and market for domestic gas to produce this quantum of power. But there are other commercial issues in the market also. However, a lot of investments is required for gas, but more importantly, the concerns have to do with commercial issues along the line between the gas producers and, of course, the power companies and the electricity consumers as well. So there is a whole range of issues, especially commercial issues that we need to address to make domestic gas available, particularly to the power plants,” he added.