The Presidential Task Force on Power, PTFP, has expressed optimism that Nigeria can generate between 7,000 and 10,000 mega watts, MW, power from coal-fired plants in addition to the existing capacities from thermal and hydro power plants.
Alternative energy sources especially from coal, are part of the Federal Government's efforts to diversify the nation's electricity resources to ensure sustainable power supply in the country.
The Chairman of PTFP, Mr. Simeon Atakulu, speaking recently at a power summit in Lagos, argued that decisions on coal-fired plants should be taken quickly to ensure power stability in the country as projected for the future.
He insisted that various power generating methodologies like solar, biomass and wind should kick off in Nigeria without further delays.
It would be recalled that Federal Government under the power sector roadmap, planned to generate up to 30 per cent of electricity from coal-fired plants by 2015.
The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Mr. Musa Sada, noted that the plan to diversify the nation's sources of electricity is imperative because of the disappointment that could come from relying on particular sources.
The minister noted that apart from the generation of electricity, the new coal mine signalled a new dawn for the nation's solid minerals sector in terms of poverty alleviation and creation of employment opportunities.
Earlier, Atakulu admitted that there has been some improvements in capacity delivery in the last few months, which credited to the delivery of some NIPP projects, and improved water harvest and gas supply.
He however regretted that power delivery in the country still faced unpredictable system collapses due to evacuation issues, adding that this called for concerted efforts in order to achieve delivery targets that the nation craved for.
He also identified some key issues militating against the power sector, noting that there has been a shift in focus regarding funding which has negatively impacted capacity addition or recovery in generation.
Other key issues include:
-Omotosho - Delay in funding release to complete rehabilitation work on outstanding five GTs (190MW).
-Ughelli - Lack of adequate funding impeding delivery of GTs 16, 17 & 18 - 300MW, altogether.
-Afam - Policy shift about funding for recovery of GT 20 (138MW).
-Sapele - Commenced recovery of ST01 and ST03 amidst paucity of funds (180MW)
The PTFP boss admitted that gas supply to thermal generation plants notably Geregu, Ughelli and Olorunsogo, have improved but still needed to be improved on, while the NIPP power generation projects at Omotosho, Sapele, Geregu and Ihovbor are progressing as scheduled.
Atakulu however reiterated that the none payment of energy invoices will also affect effective closure of identified competence gaps for technical staff, while improved performance and availability will be difficult to guarantee.