THE federal government has approved N706.9 million for the procurement of tools that would be used for the rehabilitation of one of the six units of the Jebba hydro electric power plant in Kwara State. The rehabilitation of the entire plant will gulp about N3.9 billion that will be provided by the Japanese government through a grant to Nigeria.
Chinedu Nebo, minister of power, said the money approved by the federal government to buy the tools that would be specially fabricated for the overhauling of the unit was Nigeria’s required counterpart funding of the grant. “I sent a memo to seek council’s approval for the award of the contract for the supply of Hitachi Generator special tools to Jebba Hydro Electric Plc. The availability of the special tools is a major prerequisite for commencement of the site work of the main rehabilitation project. The project will guaranty steady supply of another 96.4MW of electricity on completion by September 2014, and this will further stimulate the national economy. The project will also provide some Nigerians employment. In view of the above, council approved the supply of the generator special tools to Jebba Hydro Electric Plc in favour of Messrs Marubeni Corporation, Japan, in the sum 363.204 million Yen, with a delivery period of 10 months,” he said.
According to him, the overhaul became necessary in view of the fact that rehabilitation work had not been carried out on the power plant in 30 years, leading to the plant producing below capacity. He said despite that, the plant was designed to provide 578 megawatts of electricity; it had been fluctuating between 150MW and 300MW.
Shell’s Unverifiable Claims
THE Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth International have criticised the claims by the Shell that sabotage was responsible for most oil spill in Nigeria. The two organisations found that Shell’s statements were based on disputed evidence and flawed investigations.
They said that the National Contact Point, NCP, which was on ground to assess the complaints about companies that abuse human rights and the environment, should have gone much further in its criticism of Shell.
Audrey Gaughran, representative of Amnesty International, said there was evidence of serious flaws in the system used by Shell for investigating oil spills, including video footage of a spill investigation in which several serious problems occurred. “Sabotage is a problem in Nigeria, but Shell exaggerates this issue to avoid criticism for its failure to prevent oil spills. The oil companies are liable to pay compensation when spills are found to be their fault but not if the cause is attributed to sabotage, but it is effectively the company that investigates itself. This is clearly a system open to abuse and we have evidence that it has been abused,” she said.
Over the last decade, Shell has claimed that most of the oil spill in the Niger Delta is due to sabotage of its pipelines on the basis of a system that includes publicly contested data and relies almost exclusively on information provided by the company itself. The alleged sabotage cases have not been verified by any independent bodies. Moreover, some of Shell’s statements on the percentage of oil spilt due to sabotage are contradictory.
Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth International contend that by making misleading and incorrect statements, Shell breached the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The NCP, which is established to promote and implement the OECD Guidelines, agreed to consider the complaint.
Gaughran said that the NCP did not comment on whether Shell’s failures constituted a breach of the guidelines. It did not make a full assessment of the evidence provided and it failed to investigate whether Shell’s statements were, indeed, misleading. Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth International repeatedly expressed serious concern that this approach effectively left unaddressed all past harm done to the people of the Niger Delta as a result of Shell’s misleading statements.
“Today, the NCP failed to speak out against Shell’s abuse in Nigeria. It did not assess key evidence provided and thereby let the company off the hook. For the people of the Niger Delta, this is yet another failure of justice. The NCP is not fit for that purpose. It has proven unable or unwilling to tell Shell that it should accept responsibility for its mistakes. It is time that the Dutch government introduces a corporate accountability supervisory body with strong teeth,” she said.
GE Leads the Way
THE federal government has flagged-off the construction of the General Electric’s $1 billion multi-model power manufacturing and services facility in Calabar, Cross River State. The investment, which involved $250 million capital expenditure and over $800 million incremental spending on local sourcing of goods and services, would create 2,300 jobs and make Nigeria the regional hub for GE’s manufacturing service and renovation in Africa.
The project, which followed the Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, signed between the American firm and the Federal Government in January, is expected to provide additional 4,000 mega watts of electricity to the national grid by the end of the year. President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who officially laid the foundation stone at the ground breaking ceremony in Calabar said, by the project the GE had proven to be a strategic partner in the ongoing transformation programme of the federal government, particularly in the power sector.
He expressed optimism that the company’s wide range of experience in energy, transportation and welfare would undoubtedly strengthen the on-going reforms in the sectors and enhance the transformation agenda.
Jonathan, who was represented at the ceremony by Namadi Sambo, vice-president, affirmed that innovation in information, communication technology and effective power delivery, play critical roles in stimulating economic growth. The project therefore is expected to impact significantly on the power sector and aid the vision 20-2020 agenda of the federal government.
Liyel Imoke, Cross River State governor, said GE settled for Calabar, Cross River State capital, without any influence from the state government because the state is the most secure in Nigeria with a crime rate of less than 2 percent and a fully integrated emergency response centre that is fully operational. “Cross River State has remained at the fore-front of tourism and hospitality development. Over the years, we have consistently invested in the development of policies that accelerate the development of the State’s economy. This, no doubt, has further positioned the State as a first choice for investors. GE, which is the 3rd biggest company in the world, is joining other investors in tapping into an economy that is ready for the future. Ours is a natural fit,” he said.
Sustaining Urban Growth in Africa
THE African urban population will grow to one billion by 2040 and to 1.23 billion by 2050. At this point, 60 per cent of all Africans will be living in cities, according to UN HABITAT. As African growth will be driven mainly by existing and new cities, electricity will be a key factor to sustain urbanisation and growth on the continent. This is why Schneider Electric SA, a Global Fortune 500 company and market leader in the field of energy management, pledged to provide smarter energy in Africa, at the Africa Energy Forum 2013, which opened June 18, at the Barcelona International Convention Centre, CCIB, Spain. The Africa Energy Forum, AEF, is the annual meeting place where global players from the energy industry meet with African governments, utilities and regulators to engage in dialogue aimed at collectively driving forward the development of Africa’s power sector.
“The challenge is not only to produce more electricity but to produce intelligent energy in order to enable smart growth in Africa. Schneider Electric’s solutions aim at increasing the electricity available in Africa with limited investments. By modernising the existing grid, developing renewable energy, exploiting the huge solar potential Africa receives every day, and helping companies, industries and public authorities to be more energy efficient, Smart Cities approach delivers the short-term, visible, measurable, low-investment results that cities need,” Mohammed Saad, President Africa, Schneider Electric.
With its Smart Cities solution, Schneider Electric unites the technologies required to improve the efficiency of urban systems and deliver “urban efficiency”. The Smart Cities solution allows up to 30 percent energy savings, 15 percent reduction of water losses, 20 percent reduction of travel time and traffic delays, as well as tremendous social and economic benefits.
“As a market leader in the fields of energy management and renewable energies, Schneider Electric is the only company able to provide a comprehensive solution allowing the production of intelligent energy that enables smart growth in Africa,” said Jean-Marc Darboux, President Schneider Electric International.
Training in Concentrate Photovoltaic
SOITEC, a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials for the electronics and energy industries, announced that the first students in its concentrator photovoltaic, CPV, technology training program have successfully completed the initial part of the curriculum. The CPV training program is the first one implemented in South Africa. Thanks to this initiative, students from the local community can acquire skills needed to work in the country’s growing solar industry.
The CPV training program was created by an agreement signed in 2011 by Soitec, the University of Cape Town and Northlink College, a nationally registered Further Education & Training Institution with a head office in Bellville, South Africa.
As one of the successful companies selected by the South African Ministry of Energy at the end of its first Independent Power Producers, IPP, bid, Soitec is building a 44-MWp utility-scale CPV power plant in Touwsrivier, near the Aquila Private Game Reserve (Western Cape). Along with other projects currently under development in South Africa through the IPP program, Soitec’s project is creating a new workforce demand at the local level.
“With this CPV training program, our aim is to prepare applicants from the local community for employment during the construction, operation and maintenance phases of our Touwsrivier power plant.This training program is intended to open new career paths for South Africans as, according to the IPP program, 1,450 MW of photovoltaic power should be in operation by 2016,” said Gaetan Borgers, executive vice president of Soitec Solar Division.
Funded by Soitec Solar RSA and DEG, a German investment and development corporation that finances private-sector investments in developing countries, the CPV training program is taking place at a facility within the town of Touwsrivier. It includes a basic course covering electricity, photovoltaics, power plants and CPV basics, facilitated by Northlink College lecturers from the Belhar Campus, followed by a more advanced and specialized course on electricity and mechanics.
“Out of 300 applicants, 18 students started the basic course at the beginning of January, after having passed the entry tests. All graduated in May and are now starting the second part of the CPV training program. We are proud of this success, as this program is a concrete example of our local commitment in South Africa. We are convinced the development of CPV in this country can contribute to more sustainable development, protecting the environment while creating new job opportunities,” Borgers said.
Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu
— Jul. 1, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT