If you ask any child and most adults in the country, “where do we generate electricity from in Nigeria?”, Their answer would most likely be Kanji Dam.
This could be easily traced to our Tutors in Basic science and Social studies who (mis)informed us so.
But then, where and how does the country generate its electricity?
What is hydroelectric power?
Hydroelectric power is electricity generated from water (stored and regulated from dams or flowing from a river) turning turbines which power generators that produce electricity.
Hydro is the most widely used source of electricity from renewables. It accounts for about 16 per cent of total electricity production according to a report by evwind.es.
Global generation is also 4,306 TWh of the total electricity generated worldwide, making it the worlds largest renewable energy source followed by wind energy with 563GW of wind energy and coming in as a distant third is solar electricity with 486GW.
Nigeria has abundant water resources in the form of rivers, lakes and oceans. The land is well drained by perennial rivers.
The National Water Resources Master Plan published in 1995 estimates about 267.3 billion cubic meters of surface water about 52.0 billion cubic meters of ground water per annum.
However, these resources have remained largely unexploited and managed in an uncoordinated and integrated manner.
There are currently two main types of power plants operating in Nigeria: (1) hydro-electric and (2) thermal or fossil fuel power plants.
Sadly, most of the hydropower station is either non-operational or underperforming.
According to the USAID, out of the 12,522 Mw that the country produces, hydro produces only 2, 380MW.
This is a far cry from the potential 50,800GWh annually which is why there are 20 million households without power.
The hydropower plants only contribute maximum 19 per cent to the national grid.
Most of our electricity is generated from gas plants like Egbin Power Plant in Lagos or Transcorp power in Ugelli.
The above data show reveal that despite the potential to produce large amounts of power through hydropower, it is not reflected in the output.
The international hydropower association called Nigeria “A water-rich country”.
This makes one wonder why it doesn’t reflect in power generation.
There is hope that the Mambilla hydropower Plant which has been in the making for over 40 years will open a huge window of opportunity for Nigeria to harness its hydro potentials for electricity and irrigation purposes.
However, it should be noted with concern that the $5.8 billion power project was not captured in the 2021 Budget nor was there a mention of the 15 per cent counterpart funding.
The project which is Nigeria’s biggest hydropower project is a 3.0GW hydroelectric facility on the Dingo River in Kakara Village in Taraba State and it is with 85 per cent investment from China while the remaining 15 per cent is expected to be supplied by Nigeria.
There is no doubt that the present power crisis afflicting Nigeria will persist unless the government diversifies her energy sources and adopts new available technologies to reduce energy wastages and save cost.
In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, (SDG7) and for Nigeria (the mosv populous country on the continent), to take a center stage in today’s economic world and meet her expectations in the West African power pool (WAPP), we must start by tremendously improving our power supply.