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Ondo State To Take Delivery Of New Gas Engines Worth N7.8bn For Power Intervention

The plant will be a joint-venture between the Ondo government and Advad Nigeria limited.

Lucky Aiyedatiwa

Barring any last-minute changes, the acting Governor of Ondo State, Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, will soon formally receive new sets of German-made reciprocating gas engines to augment the power supply in Ondo State.

The Akeredolu-Aiyedatiwa government is hopeful that a successful off-grid or captive power project in the state will free more megawatts of electricity from the national grid for the use of the people and productive clusters across the state.

This is sequel to the perpetual blackout in several parts of Ondo South senatorial district and other locations around the state.

The government was said to have embarked on direct interventions through public-private partnership (PPP) to arrest the drift.

Such interventions have now yielded positive results. Our correspondent in Akure, the Ondo State capital, confirmed the arrival and delivery of the first sets of reciprocating gas engines ordered for the Alagbaka Independent Power Plant (IPP), a critical power intervention project in Akure.

The plant is to be operated by Alagbaka Power Limited, a joint venture between the Ondo State Government and Advad Nigeria Limited.

The new gas engines and associated balance of plant facilities worth over N7.8 billion were seen being offloaded earlier in the week at the power plant located in the serene Alagbaka G.R.A. in the state capital.

A staff of the company who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak asked that we approach the Office of the Commissioner for Energy, Rasaq Obe, for detailed information.

He, however, volunteered that “the first set of engines will generate over 3MW while the plant itself can scale up to over 16MW and more in the future with the potential to feed some of the government-owned housing estates such as Ijapo, Oba-Ile, and Alagbaka GRA”.

Our findings at the Ministry of Energy and the Ondo State Electricity Board showed that the Alagbaka IPP project was one of about thirty-six ambitious power intervention programmes across the state that were awarded by the Ondo State Technical Committee on Electricity led by Engr. Olatunji Ariyomo when he was the Special Adviser on Energy to Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, before his exit from the government in 2021.

Some of the projects that are in advanced stages of financial close include the Okitipupa IPP, which is designed to power the state-owned university and most-deprived parts of Okitipupa and Igbokoda as well as the Owo and Ondo town IPPs.

While the Akure intervention, as well as the IPPs meant for Okitipupa, Ondo town, and Owo, are gas-fired, the state has taken the lead with several power projects using a hybrid of gas with solar.

Some of the completed solar hybrid IPPs are located in Ala-Elefosan, Odonla, Ugbonla, Obejedo, Lomileju, and Gbagira, among others.

Adesina Ogooluwa, a staff member of the Ondo State Electricity Board, told our reporter that Ondo State had executed the highest number of Independent Power Projects more than any other state in Nigeria.

“We have done over 23 hybrid solar mini-grids even before Oga Tunji left government. These are in towns and communities that never had electricity since Nigeria was founded.

“Under Akeredolu, Engr Tunji Ariyomo led us to pass a full-fledged power sector law, the first completely independent state power sector law in Nigeria. We were the first to set up a State Electricity Regulatory Commission in Nigeria. We were the first to issue legitimate licenses to power companies outside NERC in Nigeria’s history.

“When some people thought the Disco owners could challenge us in court, they were shocked to see that the Nigerian constitution empowered the state to do all that we have done. The recent amendments made to the constitutions have now shown that the path we took with the electricity market reform in Ondo State is the correct path. Other states are now copying our law.”

To his credit, Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu had in December 2020 assented to the Ondo State Power Sector Law (2020), thus becoming the first governor to assent to a totally independent state power sector law in Nigeria.

The law, unlike what was done with the Lagos State Embedded Power Law, effectively invoked constitutional provisions that empowered states of the federation to generate, transmit, distribute, and regulate power in areas outside the national grid without recourse to the central government.

The law established an independent local electricity regulatory commission for the state and made extensive allowances for electricity investment protection and the energy market in the state.

The law also leveraged the constitutional protection for consumers to create opportunities to improve service delivery in areas within the grid. The amendment to the federal constitution in February 2023, which decentralized the electricity market further entrenched the position of Ondo State.

Aiyedatiwa, who in June 2021 while representing Akeredolu at the foundation-laying ceremony of one of the mini-grid power plants, said their administration would not relent in creating the enabling environment for businesses and investments to thrive in Ondo State, is expected to formally receive and inspect the newly delivered multi-billion naira power equipment at the site of the new IPP in Akure.

David Fidelis in Akure

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