Authorities have reliably informed that first fire from one turbine unit at the 700 megawatts (mw) Zungeru hydroelectric power plant, will be achieved by December 2019.
This first completion according to Engr. Olatunbosun Owoeye, Deputy Director Energy Resources Department in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, will translate to an additional 175mw evacuated to the national grid, as the federal government continues to work round the clock in efforts to address Nigeria’s power situation.
Watch: Video of ongoing construction of 700mw Zungeru hydro power plant
e360 correspondent who was in the delegation of a team of ministry officials led by the Director, Press, Mrs. Etore Thomas, (power sector) on a tour of the ongoing construction of the plant, learnt that it is presently at about 45 percent complete, as at January 2018, with work now on a 24 hours basis in order to achieve completion target.
The Zungeru hydro power plant is conceived to have four units turbine of 175mw each, the ground breaking was done on May 28, 2013, although actual construction was delayed for two years after the ground breaking ceremony.
“First completion is expected in December 2019, however, funding is important.” Owoeye said, adding, “The construction is around 43-45 percent complete, construction work is on a 24 hours basis daily.”
He maintained that the plant would run for about 100 years before needing any form of major maintenance, as against the 50 years time frame for such projects, due to the uniqueness of its construction technology. the Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC).
To resolve the community related issues, Owoeye said the government have released about N2 billion for resettlement of affected people in 35 sites. “All the affected people have been organised into 35 resettlement sites. The federal government is providing the funds while the Niger State government is implementing it,” he explained.
Explaining further, the project’s local content representative, Engr. Mustapha Yerima, said “the federal government asked Niger State government to settle community issue, to which effect a committee comprising of indigenes, state and federal officials, tagged Niger State Committee on Completion, Resettlement and Relocation of Project Affected Persons, was set up by the Niger State Government.
“22,100 people are projected to be affected for crop and economics risks, 6000 plus affected in structures and they cuts across 98 community and still counting.”
It was gathered that the 98 communities have been organised into 35 communities for ease of settlement and relocation plans including provision of infrastructure in their new settlements. It is however projected that the affected communities may keep rising as more activities commence in the course of the project. “Any additional person or communities affected by the project would be captured and compensated adequately, Yerima said.
e360 learnt that the government is providing schools, health centres, access roads, land allocation as well as financial compensation to affected persons to build new houses. Completed water projects and ongoing construction of a school and health centre was observed by our correspondent in one of the resettlement centres.
About 1,700 Nigerian workers are presently employed in the construction, which is expected to keep rising as more activities commence in the course of the project, their salary, according to Yerima is above minimum wage.
About the Zungeru power plant
The 700-megawatt hydropower dam project is a $1.29 billion deal between the Nigerian and the Chinese government at a ratio of 25 to 75 percent. It is conceived as a 4-turbine units of 175mw each.
The ground breaking ceremony was done in may 2013 by former president Goodluck Jonathan, while the river closure ceremony was achieved in 2016. The project is being handled by CNEEC-Sinohydro Consortium.
The Zungeru plant is the first in Nigeria to be constructed with the Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC), a new technology in dam construction which enable the facility withstand vibrations