The Russian nuclear energy corporation, Rosatom, has called on the Federal Government to consider off-grid technologies such as mini-hydro power stations as an effective solution to address Nigeria’s electricity shortfall.
According to the corporation, the establishment of mini-hydro stations would enhance access to electricity for the country’s increasing population, as it noted that minor water streams needed for such projects were scattered across the country.
Rosatom, on behalf of the Russian government, recently signed an agreement with Nigeria for the development of a nuclear power plant and research centre in Nigeria.
The firm, in a statement from its media consultant on Wednesday, described Nigeria as the biggest and most attractive off-grid opportunity in Africa, being the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa with a Gross Domestic Product of $405bn, 180 million people and an economy with compound annual growth rate of 15 per cent since year 2000.
It said, “A significant amount of the economy is powered largely by small-scale generators of about 10 to15 megawatts, and almost 50 per cent of the population have limited or no access to the grid. As a result, Nigerians and their businesses spend almost $14bn (about N5tn) annually on inefficient generation that is expensive ($0.40/kWh or N140/kWh or more) of poor quality, noisy, and polluting sources from electricity generators.
“Getting off-grid solutions to scale and commercial viability in Nigeria will unlock an enormous market opportunity in sub-Saharan Africa.”
The firm described the mini-hydro power station technology as quick and simple to build, easy to maintain and with capacity to provide ecologically clean and cheap electricity.
Rosatom’s subsidiary recently showcased a portable mini-hydro power station in a container format for electricity generation in remote areas, and urged the Nigerian government to consider exploring the technology.
The Russian corporation’s Central and Southern Africa Regional Vice President, Dmitry Shornikov, explained that the mini-hydro plant comprised of a design capacity of up to two megawatts, with a single facility that is capable of providing electricity to between 250 and 400 houses for 30 years.
The system, he noted, could be run by an operator or work in a fully automated mode.
Shornikov was quoted in the statement as saying “A mini station is able to meet electricity requirements from retail and corporate consumers in those areas where central supplies are not available or where transmission lines are difficult to build or where the landscape presents an obstacle to installing powerful electricity lines.
“Mini stations are an excellent solution for insular states and a good alternative to inefficient and ecologically unfriendly diesel generators.”
He noted that mini-hydro stations could also be of value to the industrial sector such as mining, lumbering and oil production firms, which could be located in remote areas isolated from the power grid.