Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Project in Nigeria Latest Update

Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Project nears completion, scheduled for March 2022. Currently, it is at a 95% completion stage. Construction of the $1.3 billion project started in May 2013. Construction is across the Kaduna River, in Northwestern Nigeria, near a town called Zungeru. Initially, it was to take 60 months. However, several charges were made against the project thus slowing it down. When ready, it’ll generate 700 megawatts of electricity. As a result, access to electricity will be available to more residents around the region.

It has a 2400m roller-compacted concrete (RCC) gravity-fed dam. In addition to that, there’s an underground powerhouse located behind the RCC dam. Zungeru’s reservoir has a depth of 101 metres and 233 metres long. That amounts to 10.4 billion m3 of stored water. Other features include two switchyards on both river banks and a tailrace channel, to carry water away from the dam. Four hydro turbine and generator units rated 175MW each is part of the underground powerhouse facility. All these will help support Zungeru’s production power of 2,630 GWh per hour. Thus, it will tank as the second-largest Hydroelectric power plant in Nigeria.

Socio-economic impact

The plant is to cover at least 10% of Nigeria’s energy needs. Flooding around the region will be managed better due to Zungeru’s massive nature. Other benefits include the supply of water and a platform for fish breeding facilities. As part of their partnerships with local organizations, the National Council on Privatisation and the Bureau of Public Enterprises called for technical advisers to bring transaction advisory services. Afterward, they’ll take over as operators.

Around 2,000 people have been directly and indirectly employed. The Export-Import Bank (Exim Bank) of China granted the project a preferential loan. Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Project has undergone construction by CNEEC and SINOHYDRO firms. The official launch date announcement by the Government is in a few weeks.

Zungeru Dam to come online this year

The 700 megawatts (940,000 hp) Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Project, which is located across the Kaduna River, near the town of Zungeru, in Niger State, in northwestern Nigeria, is set to come online this year.

This was revealed by Li Xiao Ming, the Deputy Project Manager at Sinohydro, a Chinese state-owned hydropower engineering and construction company in charge of the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power project.

According to Mr. Ming, the Zungeru Dam project would be commissioned in phases, the first of which with the capacity to generate a total of 175MW will be commissioned in the first quarter of the year. The second, third, and fourth phases are expected to be commissioned respectively in the second, third, and fourth quarters of 2022.

Expectations for the Zungeru Dam

Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Project will be the second-largest hydroelectric power project in the West African country behind the 760 megawatts (1,020,000 hp) Kainji hydroelectric power project. It will also be one of the biggest power projects in the continent to secure preferential loan facilities from the Export-Import Bank (Exim Bank) of China.

According to Mr. Ming, the project will generate 2.64 billion kWh of electricity annually to meet 10% of Nigeria’s domestic electricity needs. The Sino hydro’s  Deputy Project Manager besides electricity the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Project, especially the dam will provide flood control, irrigation as well as water supply and fish breeding facilities to host communities and beyond, and direct and indirect employment opportunities to more than 2,000 people.

Summarizing Mr. Ming’s point the Assistant Human Resources Manager, Aliyu Muhammad Temaku said that the project will provide a huge respite to both the epileptic power sector and the struggling economy of the country.

What we reported earlier on the Zungeru hydroelectric plant in Nigeria:

March 2021: Zungeru hydroelectric plant in Nigeria to be concessioned by year end

Nigeria plans to concession the 700 MW Zungeru hydroelectric plant that is been built on the Kaduna river in the northern state of Niger, and which is set to become operational by the end of 2021.

It has therefore through the National Council on Privatisation (NCP) and the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), invited expressions of interest from qualified technical advisers to provide transaction advisory services for the award of the concession.

Interested parties are expected to submit their bids by 31st march 2021

Responsibilities of the selected advisor

Among other responsibilities the selected advisor will be required to carry out a due diligence review of the operating company and the activities necessary to prepare it for the subsequent concession transaction; review all relevant laws, regulations, and policies that could impact the successful concession of the enterprise.

Develop strategies that would attract interest from international investors, and detailed concession plans for the enterprise along the lines of the strategic concession criteria determined by the NCP; conduct the marketing and bidding processes necessary for maximizing private sector participation and develop post-concession exit strategy options for the enterprise.

Overview of Zungeru hydropower plant project

Executed by a consortium of China National Electric Engineering Company (CNEEC) and Sinohydro, the project is so far over 87% complete. Its main components include a 101 m-high, 1090 m-wide roller-compacted concrete (RCC) gravity dam, a clay core rockfill dam, an underground powerhouse equipped with four 175 MW units, a tailrace channel, and two switchyards on both banks of the river.

The project, which upon completion will be the second biggest hydroelectric dam in the West African Country after the 760 MW Kainji hydropower dam, is designed to generate 2630 GWh/year, equivalent to around 10% of the country’s supply requirements.

In addition to electricity generation, the facility will also provide flood control, irrigation, and water supply.

August 2017: Nigeria’s Zungeru hydroelectric power plant, 47% complete

CNEEC-Sinohydro Consortium, has made a confirmation that the Zungeru hydroelectric power plant project in Nigeria is now 47% complete. CNEEC is in-charge of the development of the 700MW power plant project.

Xiao Nie, the deputy project manager explained this development during a tour to the $1.2BN project site in Zungeru, Niger State.

This power plant is made up of four units of 175MW each. Expectations are that it will be complete by 2020 following the power plant’s launch which was in 2013.

Zungeru hydroelectric power plant

The first phase of the project will be made known by December 2019. On the other hand, the remaining units will be launched after every three months.

“The project consists of a storage reservoir with a maximum operation water level of 230 metres. It also has a total storage capacity of 11.4×109m3,” Nie said.

“This power project’s annual power generation capacity is approximately 2,640GWh. We are also expecting that it will produce and supply electricity to the national framework,” he added.

“Zungeru hydroelectric power will be helpful for controlling floods. Additionally, it will oversee the development of fisheries and agriculture. Furthermore, there will be an extension of the open period as well as the length of the fairway,” he said.

Hydropower generation developments

The recent development around hydropower generation plants in Nigeria is on the increase. Just recently, the energy minister, Babatunde Raji Fashola, said that the 3,050MW Mambilla hydropower plant in Taraba State is still ongoing.

In a recent statement, the minister said he has received a ‘No Objection’ certificate from the Bureau of Public Procurement(BPP).

“This is a sign that the ministry is ready to move forward, ” he added.

The Mambilla hydropower plant has been on the cards for over two decades now. There is going to be a connection of the plant to three dams across the Donga River in the Taraba State.

May 2016: Construction work on Zungeru power plant in Nigeria resumes

Construction work has resumed on the Zungeru Hydro Electricity power plant in Nigeria. This comes after a court settlement of dispute between the involved parties. The

The 700MW power project has been on hold in court for several years now, leading to a 3 years backward delay as per the delivery schedule. Meanwhile, over 800 workers have resumed work at the project’s site. On completion, the power plant project will contribute additional power to the national grid.

Currently, the government is tirelessly working to consider alternative and sustainable fuel supply to the 215MW plant in Kaduna which is designed to use gas but unfortunately the plant is located several hundred kilometers away from gas sources. The government is however, considering to never site power plants far away from their fuel source.

According to Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, his ministry is working round-the-clock with other ministries such as Ministry of Environment, Solid Minerals, Water Resources and all stakeholders to deliver an energy mix that will boost power productivity and how to site solar power in the North, hydro power in the North and North-Central, coal in the North Central and South East and gas in the South-West and South-South.

The agenda of constructing fuel source near the power plant not only makes the power production cheaper but it also makes it easier to plan and execute a transmission plan and ensure the power is evacuated and distributed in the right manner.

Nigeria is on the verge of transformation in terms of power generation and the roadmap to incremental power includes other power plants such as the 10MW Katsina wind power plant, 40MW Kasimbilla power plant and the 222 MW Gbarain plant in Bayelsa State.

However, plants like the AES 240 MW plant in Lagos, the Omotosho and Olorunsogo power plants and the Geregu I and II plants in Kogi state only requires gas to operate and deliver full power. With the supply of gas to the generating plants can greatly boost the country’s power capacity which is presently at 160MW to over 600MW of power. Niger state has also plans to complete about 2,100 inherited rural electricity projects which should have been completed by law since 2006.


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