Of the factors responsible for industrialization, viz suitable political climate, technological advancement, presence of raw materials; the dearth of infrastructure has been the bane of industrialization in Nigeria. In the South of the country, no doubt blessed with resources – human and mineral, the problem of epileptic power supply stands out from the rest. Whilst industries can sometimes insulate themselves from the general infrastructural decay, the malaise of inefficient power cannot be easily avoided.
There are inherently opportunities in every problem, the epileptic power situation in Nigeria is no different. The Edo state government realising that the cost and availability of power plays a prominent role in the decision making process of investors when seeking suitable locations has made it its priority to explore the power generation potentials of the state. Edo state sees itself well placed to be the first choice location for power projects for these reasons:
- Access to a secure and reliable source of gas. With substantial mature and proven domestic gas reserves; and some locations about 1km away from the path of the country’s main gas trunkline, the Escravos Lagos Pipeline System (ELPS).
- Access to evacuation capacity to the electricity grid.
- Benin is seen as one of the country’s key nodal points for evacuation with the city located within a radius of multiple high voltage transmission interconnections.
- Close proximity to Koko Port in neighboring Delta state, which has a proven capacity to handle the inward shipment of the heavy equipment required at the site.
- There is very good road access directly to the site and excellent road access between Koko Port and the site with bridges that have a proven capacity to withstand the transportation of heavy equipment.
- Edo State, over the past two decades, has been less exposed to acts of civil disturbance than the other major oil and gas producing States in the Federation, thus providing a safe haven for both local and international workers.
The Azura-Edo IPP
The Azura-Edo IPP is a 461 MW Open Cycle Gas Turbine power station being constructed near Benin City in Edo State. It is the first phase of a 1,500 MW IPP facility.The plant is being executed in three phases; Phase 1 is now over with the construction completed eight months ahead of schedule in May 2018; Phase 2 will be the conversion into combined cycle with a capacity of between 670 MW; and Phase 3 will be an extension to Phase 1 and 2. Located on a 100 hectare site, there is ample room to accommodate future expansion of the power plant.
The electricity sector in Edo State is undergoing an unprecedented transition. Today, Azura power is providing affordable, secure and reliable electricity by attracting investors with low risk, stable returns. A month ahead of the planned official commissioning of its 450 megawatts (MW) capacity power generation plant located in Benin City, Edo State, Azura Power has announced the completion of its whole plant run, indicating that all of its three turbines with a collective output of 450MW have been deployed in Nigeria’s national grid.
The $900 million power plant was originally supposed to be completed around December this year, but it achieved a construction timeline cutback record of about seven months, and was thus planned for commissioning in May. The coming on grid of its three units could, however, improve the total amount of electricity available to the national grid by 450MW.
Edo-Azura Power sector provides enormous potential for investors. Manufacturing companies from Nigeria in Ghana, are set to relocate to Benin City, Edo State and take advantage of the liberal investment incentives here and improved power supply from Azura. Edo-Azura will provide electricity for industrial customers, typically, facilities and equipment which use electricity for processing, producing, or assembling goods; including diverse industries, such as manufacturing, mining, agriculture, and construction would prosper with uninterrupted electricity supply.
Edo-Azura power project will contribute to ensuring adequate and reliable electricity supply that is necessary for Nigeria’s continued economic development. It will also support private sector participation, capacity development and better governance in Transmission Company of Nigeria and sector institutions, Multinationals or Medium, Small or Micro-Entrepreneurs (MSMEs) should relocate to Edo State.