After gulping over N4.4 billion in 12 years, the 10 megawatts (MW) Katsina Wind Farm could be completed and ready for commissioning in the next eight weeks, the handler of the project has said.

The Minister of Power, Engr. Sale Mamman, who inspected the plant last weekend at Lambar Rimi community, also commissioned the transmission lines that will evacuate the generated power.

The contractor executing the project and Managing Director of Crown Resources Development Company Limited (CREDCO), Barny Adeku Ojiah, said 31 turbines had been installed and that they could generate 5.5MW at a 65 per cent wind speed efficiency.

Ojiah said plans were ongoing to install the remaining six turbines, and that with strong wind speed, the plant could generate over 10MW.

Ojiah who briefed the minister said within the next eight weeks, the rehabilitation of the 31 turbines would be completed and that they could generate 5.5MW, “It could be even earlier than that, depending on the situation of each turbine,” he added.

Addressing the minister, he said, “I want to reassure you that this is an excellent project because those of us that have travelled to Europe know that the world is going green. It takes a huge initial investment, but is cheaper in the long run.”

The project also comes with the construction of 23 kilometres of 33 kilovolt (kV) power transmission line from the 10MW wind farm. The line evacuates the generated power to the 132/33kV substation belonging to the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).

From the substation, a 33kV transmission line spanning 17 kilometres was constructed to link up with the 132/33kV TCN substation at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua University in Katsina, along with the extension of the 33kV bus bar.

While the minister commissioned the line, the ministry’s officials said the transmission line was handled by Bramwell Electrical Nigeria Limited as a project for the Federal Ministry of Power under its Distribution Expansion Programme (DEP).

The minister in his address after the inspection and the commissioning said, “We are here to inspect. We are going round to see what has been done because this project has been on the ground for over seven years and we have to make sure that we complete this project.

Engr. Mamman said, “We are all here with the representatives of the community, we have seen and we are impressed. We are also going to support the contractor to make sure the project is completed.”

The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Power, Magaji Aliyu, said the lawmakers knew little about the project earlier.

Hon. Aliyu said, “I am highly satisfied, but before, I was not satisfied because I didn’t know what was going on and I needed more clarification.”

Previous hurdles

The contractor said the project had shut down earlier due to lapses, but was reopened for repairs two weeks ago.

After an expatriate with Vergnet, the French firm for the project was kidnapped, the project stalled. Vergnet later continued the project through a local partner, CREDCO, which staff is trained in France. After a technical audit, CREDCO installed 15 wind turbines. However, in 2018, Vergnet left that arrangement.

“I am aware that the minister (Fashola) raised this at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting for the termination of the contract with Vergnet and re-awarded to CREDCO, and that was done,” Ojiah explained.

By January 2019, CREDCO got five months to install the remaining 22 turbines but it delayed due to challenges with parts’ importation.

“It was in August 2019, that we were able to do 31 turbines. The remaining six turbines require intense examination as they were badly vandalised and some equipment were carted away,” Ojiah explained.

The CREDCO boss advised that “Even if the 31 turbines are on and the government does not ensure a proactive process to finishing it, we will come back to this same position.”

The minister also visited the Governor of Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari, and told him that, “We want to assure you that this project is one of the most important projects we have in the country. We have to complete it on time.”

Gov. Masari who was delighted about the commissioned power line was keen to have the project completed quickly and noted that the state had spent over N48m for its security.

He said, “Before I took over, they were spending N1m. I reviewed it to N500,000 monthly, which we spend on security every month, and the project is more than eight years.”


Source: Daily Trust