Geometrics $530m Aba IPP to switch on in April 2017
After about three years after completion of the Geometric Power Ltd, Aba, Abia State, one of the Independent Power Plants (IPP) licensed by the Nigerian Government, the Plant is set to switch on around April next year, according to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and former Minister of Power, Prof. Barth Nnaji.
Bogged down by contractual and other ancillary controversies, the Plant has been held down from switching on since completion. But Nnaji at the weekend revealed that all the issues have been resolved and the plant set for switching on in six months’ time.
He gave the cheering news through his wife, who is also the Managing Director of the Company, Mrs. Agatha Nnaji, at this year’s Annual Powering Africa, Nigeria Conference organised by the EnergyNet Group in conjunction with the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) in Abuja.
Mrs. Nnaji explained that her husband could not attend the conference, as he had to travel overseas to sign an operational deal with a firm that is to commence operation on the plant.
She expressed optimism that the plant will go off before or in six month’s time.She said: “This project has been virtually completed and should have been delivering electricity about three years ago. However, it encountered one of the main issues, which Government must work on to ensure confidence of investors, and that is sanctity of contracts.
“The good news is that with the support of the present government and the current initiative to address the man-made issues that stalled its progress, we believe that the project should go into commercial operations within six months barring any unforeseen circumstances,” she further declared with confidence.
The development of Aba IPP was based on a commercial study and technical audit of the Aba Island conducted in 2005 by the project promoter Geometric Power in collaboration with Power Holding Company of Nigeria and sponsored by International Finance Corporation of the World Bank.
Given that the DisCos were not credit-worthy, the goal in the design of Aba IPP was to create a credit-worthy bankable entity out of the leased Aba Electricity Business Districts as an example of how embedded power can ensure the achievement of reliable electric power in ring-fenced districts.
An integrated complete utility was therefore established that is isolated from the grid, but is capable of taking power from the grid on emergency or supplying excess power to the grid. The project involved the obtaining of a concession for the Government owned Aba and Ariaria electricity business districts; rehabilitation of the government owned distribution assets; building of five new substations (3x60MVA; and 4x2x15MVA); and Investment in over 105 kilometres of 33 kV power lines and over 40 kilometres of 11 kV power lines.
Total Investment is over $530 million for the Aba IPP for the power plant and distribution assets and the building of Aba IPP facilities will result in Improvement of quantity and quality of power supply with electricity at 24/7while excess power is sold to the national grid.
Addressing prospective investors gathered at the conference, Nnaji advised that the Nigerian investment climate was safe, particularly in the power sector.
She however called on the government to maintain the sanctity of contracts, as well as remove all impediments in the sector that make investment in the sector not viable.
According to Nnaji: “The Federal Government of Nigeria has done a lot to set the power sector on a path of self-sustainability. However, there are still a number of impediments to the achievement of our country’s power reliability goal. Apart from general concerns about the Nigerian economic environment, there are specific issues, which the Government should work to address
“Government needs to work on supporting private-sector investment in power by riding on the gains made from EPSRA of 2005 and the Power Sector Reform Roadmap to continue to develop and fine-tune enabling policies, and ensure enforcement of the policies and laws governing the sector.
“The critical areas where more work is needed include: cost reflective tariff: that quickly reflects currency adjustments and other market shifts; sensitivity of Government agencies to private sector time and efficient management of costs in project development; Relevant Government Agencies’ development of human capital and attraction of knowledgeable, experienced and well-exposed personnel that understand global commercial and legal issues inherent in the power sector; mustering of strong political will to address the sectorial challenges; stable and transparent policies and respect of contracts/agreements, “ she added.