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$2.3bn Siemens power project transformers, substations arrive Nigeria

Minister of Power, Bayo Adelabu
Minister of Power, Bayo Adelabu

Electricity transformers and substations meant for the $2.3bn Siemens power project have arrived in the country as the project gains traction, Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, said on Sunday.

The development came a few months after the Federal Government renewed the mega power project contract with the German government and Siemens, following several months of delays.

The minister in a statement on Sunday said the COVID-19 pandemic and the death of the late Chief of Staff to former President Muhammadu Buhari, Abba Kyari, hampered the implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Nigeria and Siemens to transform power transmission and distribution in the country.

According to Adelabu, Kyari, who died as a result of COVID complications, was the arrow head of the project, saying the project remained stalled until President Bola Tinubu came on board.

“In 2018, the Nigerian government signed a memorandum of understanding with the German government for the presidential power initiatives, also known as the Siemens contracts. The German government agreed to lend Nigeria $2.3bn and employ Siemens to transform Nigeria’s transmission and distribution sector.

“However, due to COVID-19, significant progress has yet to be made in implementing these projects. Unfortunately, the late Chief of Staff to the President, Malam Abba Kyari, the foremost champion of the project, passed away. After that, an election occurred, and a new government took over. Between 2018 and 2023, there were no significant developments concerning the agreements,” a statement made available to The PUNCH on Sunday by Adelabu’s media aide, Bolaji Tunji, quoted him as having said at a briefing on Friday.

According to Adelabu, the project was supposed to proceed in two phases, but the pilot phase only progressed significantly when the Tinubu government emerged.

“In November 2023, during the visit of the German Chancellor to Nigeria, one of the issues discussed was the need to continue with the project. Recently, there was an African Business Summit in Germany, which was attended by the President, and I was privileged to accompany him to the summit. During the summit, we had extensive conversations with our German counterparts regarding a project, and we were both convinced that it would benefit both countries to proceed with an MOU. We agreed to sign an acceleration agreement to kick-start the project again.

“In December 2023, at COP 28 in Dubai, an affiliation agreement was signed between the federal government, the German government, Siemens Energy, and FGN Power Company Limited. Following this, we commenced the project analysis, and I am pleased to inform you that we are almost through with the project’s pilot phase.

“The pilot phase involved the offshore importation of ten power transformers and ten mobile substations to be used as a Proof of Concept for these projects. All these items have arrived in the country,” the minister stated.

According to him, five out of the 10 transformers have been installed at various locations across the country.

“We have also installed three out of 10 mobile substations, with seven more to go. Once we finish installing them, we will commission and energise them. At that point, Nigerians will begin to see the impact of this project,” he explained.

Adelabu noted that the next phases of the project included transforming the transmission segment or network by expanding the transmission capacity and strengthening the transmission to avoid the current fragility that leads to persistent grid collapse.

This, he said, would involve upgrading about 14 existing power transmission substations as well as the establishment of 22 new transmission substations.

“It’s going to involve the installation of new transmission power lines, the reconducting of some lines, and the conduct of some existing power lines, totaling almost 14,000 kilometers as the transmission segments. The same thing applies to the distribution segments, whereby our existing injection substations will be enhanced in the distribution companies.

“There will be replacements and upgrades of 33KV and 11KV transformers, numbering about 6,000 transformers. We will also reconduct and install new lines, totaling almost 22,000km of lines.

“So, I believe that once we are done with this first phase of the presidential power initiatives, called Siemens projects, Nigerians will start seeing improvements in the strength of the national grid and the efficiency and effectiveness of the distribution companies. We are on top of it, and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is exceptionally committed to seeing these projects come to reality,” he maintained.

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