Mainstream sets to upgrade Kainji hydro dam from 760MW to 980MW

Oredola Adeola

Efforts are  at an advanced stage to add about 220MegaWatt of electricity to the current 760MW capacity of Kainji Hydropower plant. This will be made possible  with the addition of two units of 1G3 and 1G4 turbines  by the operator of the facility, Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited (MESL)  

This was revealed by Col. Sani Bello (rtd), Chairman of MESL Board, during the ground-breaking ceremony for the units 1G3 and 1G4 turbines project at the Kainji plant in Niger State, at the weekend.

Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited (MESL) is the concessionaire of Kainji and Jebba Hydro Power Plants (HPP)  with a total installed capacity of 1338.4 MW.

Kainji power station has a design generating capacity of 960 megawatts (12 X 80 megawatts) base load but only eight (consisting of 4 X 80 megawatts Kaplan type turbines and 2 X 120 megawatts propeller type turbines with a total generating capacity of 760 megawatts baseload) emanating from  twelve installed turbines

According to Col. Sani, the two turbines will cost an average of $89 million (about N37.2 billion) with potential of raising the capacity of the facility to 980MW.

Col. Bello in his statement revealed that a major challenge of the electricity generation companies in Nigeria is delayed payment of invoices as well as losses associated with non-payment for unused electricity. He noted that this is negatively affecting  investors.  

He said, “We plead with the government to liberalise sourcing of forex as sourcing forex is still a challenge,” he added while calling for incentives like waivers and removing stiff regulations for investors.

Engr Abubakar Aliyu, Minister of Power, in his remark said access to electricity will impact industrial development, noting that 5,000MW of electricity is not enough for over 200m people in Nigeria.

According to him,it is clear that Nigeria is not meeting its power needs.  He said by 2050, the Nigerian population will hit 400m requiring an adequate electricity plan and that “the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI) must brace up for the energy demand gap.”

Jiu Jian, Deputy MD, Power China Huadong Engineering Corporation (HEC), the contractor of the project, said the project will be delivered within the time frame, noting that the expansion of Kainji matches global commitment to tackling climate change through more renewable energy projects.

 Engr Lamu Audu, Managing Director of MESL, said: “As at May 2021, we have recovered 542MW from Kainji and Jebba, bringing our capacity to 1,002MW from the 462MW we met when we took over in 2013.

 Audu said, “The installation of Unit 1G3 and Unit 1G4 will add 220MW to the plant and is expected to be completed in 44 months at the cost of over $89 million, bringing our combined total investment to over $240 million to date.”