The federal government led by Muhammadu Buhari has completed the Zungeru hydropower project. This is according to Federal Minister of Power, Abubakar Aliyu. The minister, who shared information via his Twitter account said the project is complete and ready to increase the country’s power capacity by supplying power to the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
The Power Minister recently paid a visit to the Zungeru site in Niger state, accompanied by members of the Senate Energy Committee chaired by Senator Gabriel Suswam and Niger State Executive Governor Abubakar Sani Bello. The minister said all turbines had been tested and plans were being finalized for the project to officially launch.
The project is on track as it was scheduled to start in the second quarter of 2023. It is also important to note that in February 2023, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Nigeria could increase its access to electricity by 2025 by implementing some important plans like the Zungeru hydropower project.
Zungeru is the largest hydropower project in Nigeria and is located 77 km downstream from the Shiroro hydropower project in Niger State. The Zungeru hydropower project will provide power generation, flood control, and water for irrigation.
The project includes a roller-compacted concrete dam (90 meters high and 1,090 meters long), intake tower and bypass tunnel, underground power station, power transmission line, and access road. The 700-megawatt Zungeru hydropower power station generates an estimated 2.64 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year, covering about 10 percent of Nigeria’s total national energy needs.
The Zungeru project is also one of the largest energy projects in Africa utilizing the China Export-Import Bank (Exim Bank) preferential credit facilities. In March 2022, the power minister said that the Buhari government was working to resolve load-shedding issues in the country’s electricity sector.
He said the government will complete the Zungeru hydropower power station to ease Nigeria’s electricity crisis. In February 2023, the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) announced the Niger-based state-owned energy company Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited as the official operator and manager of the Zungeru hydropower project.
According to BPE, Mainstream Energy emerged as the preferred bidder to operate and manage the $70 million per year hydroelectric facility for the next 30 years. Earlier this month, President Buhari identified the Zungeru hydropower project as one of his greatest achievements in Nigeria’s energy sector.