A new $5.8 billion hydro-power plant is in the works for the eastern Mambila region of Nigeria in 2018, set to begin after an agreement has been made on loan terms with China’s Export-Import Bank.

According to Power, Works and Housing Minister Babatunde Fashola, the Export-Import Bank will finance 85% of the plant’s cost, with the Nigerian government covering the remaining 15%. The 3 050-megawatt power plant will be built by the China Civil Engineering Corporation over a course of 5 years, and will include four dams measuring 50 meters (164 feet) to 150 meters high, and 700 kilometers (435 miles) of transmission lines. Production is expected to begin as soon as possible. Fashola explains that the plan is to “break ground this year if we can conclude the financing…Contracts are in place. We are good to go.”

Energy Generation:

This megawatt hydro-power plant is expected to greatly aid in expanding energy generation in Nigeria, a country that struggles with power outages. Fashola says that through this power plant, the government expects power-production capacity to increase to 8 600 megawatts in a year from 7 000 megawatts currently.

There is, however, still a lot of work that needs to be done to improve the Nigerian energy sector. The government is looking into partnering with private companies to invest in mini-grid projects to generate an additional 3 000 megawatts of electricity over five years. There are also plans to improve distribution capacity, which currently sits at about 5,000 megawatts. The government is also working on regulating license suppliers of electricity meters in order to stop some distribution companies from billing arbitrarily, which is hindering the distribution of energy across the country. According to Fashola, “We want to open the meter market because the core business of a distributor is not metering but distribution of energy.”

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