The vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has approved the framework for a $3 billion hydropower plant project in Benue State.
This is according to a statement from the office of the vice president (OVP) sent to Nairametrics.
Recently, Osinbajo presided over a meeting of the National Council on Privatization (NCP) at the Presidential Villa. During the meeting, the framework for the proposed hydropower plant was approved. According to the statement cited by Nairametrics, the proposed plant is expected to be the largest hydropower project in West Africa.
Project details: According to the OVP, the development of the project emerged by way of an unsolicited proposal and will proceed through the public-private partnership (PPP) arrangement, subject to compliance with all existing laws including the Public Procurement Act. The hydropower plant project will be the first of its kind in Nigeria and is expected to provide 1,650 megawatts (MW) of power.
Zungeru Hydropower Plant: The Nigerian government had previously opened a bid for the concession of the 700-megawatt (MW) Zungeru Hydropower Plant project, located 77km downstream of the Shiroro Hydropower project in Niger State. The Zungeru project, which cost $1.2 billion to develop, will be completed in the first quarter of 2023.
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New African hydropower projects are welcome: The 2022 Hydropower Status Report from the International Hydropower Association (IHA) finds that the first 175-megawatt (MW) unit at the 700 MW Zungeru Hydropower Station was commissioned in Q1 2022. The report also states that with 60% of Africa’s installed hydropower capacity over 20 years old, new efforts are being made to advance modernization across the continent. The African Development Bank’s Africa Hydropower Modernization Program aims to increase generation capacity at low cost, with short lead times and minimal environmental impact.
Framework: Under the NCP-approved Governance Framework, a PPP procurement process is adopted whereby the proponent of the unsolicited proposal and other qualified interested investors would participate in a transparent bidding process. The NCP received updates on the Zungeru Hydropower plant project and was notified of investors’ interest in the concession of the plant. The Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) has issued a Certificate of Compliance in respect of the Outline Business Case (OBC) submitted for the project.
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For the record: The NCP membership includes the power minister as chair, the water resources minister as co-chair, the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) DG as vice chairman, and other members from the ministries of justice, environment, agriculture, as well as representatives of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading (NBET) and Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
Benue, Nasarawa, and Taraba State governments will also have members, and the director of infrastructure & PPP at BPE will serve as secretary.
A transaction adviser of international repute would also be engaged for the project to assist BPE.
In December 2021, the Federal Ministry of Water Resources said it was working on an outline business case for a 460 MW hydropower project in Benue State.