Katsina Wind Farm; Nigeria After Alternative EnergyArticles/Opinion Saturday, March 22nd, 2014
By Olawale Rasheed
The urgency of energy crisis facing the nation is raising awareness and actions on the parts of governments at all levels. The drive is to access alternative energy sources considered sustainable and cheaper compared with conventional energy source. Nigeria with her multiple challenges in the power sector has embraced this line with a unique project called the Katsina Wind farm designed to generate 10 mega watts of electricity.
The move to tap abundant wind resources in the northern part of the country was the baby and initiatives of President Goodluck Jonathan who is also billed to commission it before the end of the year. The recent visit of the president to Katsina state though meant to commission projects executed by the state government saw the number one citizen taken time to check the progress of work at Lamba Rimi,about five kilometers from Katsina metropolis.
A day to the presidential arrival, the Minister of State for Power, Hon Mohammed Wakil arrived Katsina and visited the project site. Accompanied by top ministry officials, the minister moved round the site with about thirty seven wind mills. The fenced off site was at an advanced stage of completion with most of the turbines waiting to mounted. The minister after going round the site expressed happiness at the preparedness of the consultant and the contractor to deliver on schedule.
The following day, President Jonathan was at the Lamba Rimi to see things for himself. The locals were elated as they trooped out in their hundreds to welcome Mr. President. The district head led his people to wait patiently for the president. The minister and top government officials were also at hand. On arrival, the minister briefed the president about the state of the project .explaining that the work was slowed down due to security challenges which has now been resolved. Hon Wakil told the president that contractor has remobilized to site while the training and auditing of the turbines will take place between April to July this year.
The Minister further informed the president that by August, the first thirteen turbines will be commissioned followed by the next twelve turbines in September and the last twelve turbines in October of this year. The final handing over is to be concluded by November when the project will be handed over to the ministry. While the minister was briefing the president, it was clear the president is interested in the completion and commissioning. Thus by the time the minister confirmed commissioning by last quarter, the president felt relieved.
It would be recalled that the Katsina wind farm project was the first wind electricity project in Nigeria. The Federal Executive Council had approved the award of the project in 2009 in favor of Messrs Vergnet SA.The technical detail of the project include a 37no .275kw wind turbine generators mounted at a height of 55m on an inclinable towewr, 33kv internal sub station and internal cabling, supply of 2nos. 7.5MvA transformers, engineering design of 33kv overhead line and connection to Katsina substation 33/11kv feeder alongside a two year operate and maintain contract.
The project implementation launched in May 2010 had attained 95 percent completion by October 2012 an even slated for commissioning. Checks however showed that the unfortunate kidnap of one of the French engineers held up work on the site for about a year. This forced the ministry to design alternative strategy to complete the project which has now yielded positive result with the commissioning slated for last quarter of the year.
Speaking after the inspection by the president, the minister said the personal presence of the president at the project site despite his tight schedule confirm again his passion to resolve the energy crisis facing the nation. According to him, the president wants result in relation to yearnings of Nigerians for energy supply. He explained that the Katsina project as the first of its kind is to serve as a model for similar projects in other parts of the country.
According to the Minister, the present administration is committed to adopting alternative energy sources to address the nation’s´ energy needs. He said the administration is linking up with the worldwide trend in tapping into environmentally friendly energy sources, adding that the Katsina project is a key example.
What Nigerians should know is that the President is demonstrating political will in addition to his personal interest in the success of the power sector reform, the minister said at the Kastina wind farm project site.
Short URL: http://www.africanexaminer.com/?p=9382