The West African Power Pool, WAPP, on Friday, proposed a $156 million annual budget for the execution of its 330kV North Core power transmission project, expected to link Nigeria to four other West African countries.
The 913km project, estimated to cost about $568 million, involves the construction of approximately 880km of 330kV and 33km of 225kV of high voltage transmission line linking Nigeria to Niger, Benin Republic, Burkina Faso and Togo, according to the Vanguard. It aims to facilitate energy exchanges in the sub-region, provide technical assistance to foster commercial exchange agreements among its participants and expand access to electricity for populations living along the transmission line.
Speaking during the 7th meeting of the Joint Supervision Committee held in Abuja, the Secretary General of WAPP, Mr. Siengui Apollinaire, explained that the delivery of the project has been hampered by insecurity in the sub-region.
According to him, “When we started the work, we were thinking about two years to conclude the project, but you know the region has been confronted with security issues. The war in countries like in Burkina Faso, this is a big challenge for us.
“We have to put in place some strategies to be able to continue the project. So the project was delayed. Sure we will not be able to conclude this in two years but we hope to make it in three years. That is rather than concluding it in 2024. I think we may be able to finish it by 2025.
“The commitment of the concerned states in the field of security is therefore essential for the project’s success. It is crucial to emphasize that a decisive step in realizing this project lies in mobilizing all stakeholders, particularly focusing on security challenges in the project area.
“For this year, the budget submitted for your consideration, equivalent to $156 million, will, barring unforeseen circumstances, complete the work in Nigeria and Benin”, he said.
Also speaking, WAPP Chairman, and the Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria, Engr. Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz, managing director, noted that the North Core Project was conceived as a vital solution to address the substantial electricity supply-demand imbalance within the ECOWAS region.
Engr. Abdulaziz, who was represented by Mr. Aminu Tahir, pointed out that beyond the transmission lines, the project sets out to construct or extend five substations and deploy cutting-edge technologies like Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, SCADA, systems and fiber optic cables along the lines.
He said: “This project isn’t merely about transmitting electricity; it’s about creating a dynamic, interconnected network that will redefine our energy landscape. The North Core Project’s primary objective goes beyond infrastructure – it aims to catalyze efficient energy trade, encourage commercial exchange agreements, and bring electricity access to communities along the transmission line.
“Envisioned as a transformative force, this project is the lifeline that will interconnect the destinies of our respective countries. The importance of this initiative transcends borders, echoing the spirit of unity within the ECOWAS region”, he added.
The project, which is funded by the World Bank, African Development Bank, European Union and Nigeria, is expected to provide power generation companies in Nigeria an outlet for their over 13,000MW installed capacity.