By Simon Echewofun Sunday
The Minister of Power, Engineer Sale Mamman, has said the 10 megawatts (MW) katsina Wind Farm is set for commissioning later this month.
This is coming nearly 13 years after the project worth about N5 billion was initiated, first as a state project and shortly became a federal project at Lambar Rimi area of Katsina state.
In a social media post on Thursday, Engr. Mamman said: “The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to the completion of abandoned infrastructure projects.
“The 10MW Katsina Wind Farm Project set for commissioning later this month has 37 up and functioning turbines, part of our efforts towards investing in renewable energy,” the minister stated.
According to further descriptions of the farm in the post, the project consist of the Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) and installation contract of 37 units of GEVMP with 275 (kilowatts) power capacity of wind turbine generators.
It has step-up transformers for each turbine with a capacity of 315KVA for 33 kilovolts (kV) and 400 volts (V) at distributed power supply level.
The plant also has a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system for data collection, performance monitoring and control as well as for remote supervision.
The project also involves the installation of two units of 7.5 megavolts ampere (MVA) transformers and its accessories.
The contract for the Katsina wind farm further comes with two years Operation and Maintenance (O&M) spare parts, the minister revealed.
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) and already commissioned.
From the substation, a 33kV transmission line spanning 17km 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.
How it started
The project was scheduled for commissioning in 2020 which would have been the fifth time it was scheduled for such activity that never happened.
The contract had just 24 months (2 years) completion period since 2005 when the government of Governor Umaru Musa Yar’adua of Katsina state started it before it was taken over by the federal government in 2007. It has missed several timelines during the about 13 years period.
The federal government awarded the project to a French firm, Messrs Vergnet SA in 2010 at the cost of 18,500,000 pounds plus N494 million with a completion period of 24 months, that was by 2012.
Between 2012 and 2020, more than six dates of completion were slated and all did not hold.
The project suffered several setbacks including the kidnapping of its engineer, a French national, Mr Collomp Francis, vandalism from both humans and rodents following the abandonment of the project, and government bureaucracy.
In February 2018, officials of the Ministry inspected the plant to see some of the fabricated and erected turbines which were operational. The consultant and Assistant Project Manager for O.T. Otis Engineering, Pius Onyenagubo said the operational part will be commissioned in March 2018.
“The 15 fully installed turbines will be commissioned by the end of March while the others will be commissioned by the end of the year,” Onyenagubo had said.
The project got a fresh timeline of October 2019 for commissioning. This latest timeline was set in March 2019 when officials of the ministry and those from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGOF) visited the plant.
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 has said.
The minister of power, Engr. Mamman who inspected the plant in February 2020, was hopeful that within eight weeks, the plant would be commissioned. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the schedule, a ministry official said.
The contractor and Managing Director of Crown Resources Development Company Limited (CREDCO), Barny Adeku Ojiah had said then that 31 turbines had been installed and that they can generate 5.5MW at a 65 per cent wind speed efficiency.
He said plans are ongoing to install the remaining six turbines and that with strong wind speed, the plant can generate over 10MW.
Ojiah who briefed the minister said within the next eight weeks, the rehabilitation of the 31 turbines will be finished and they can generate 5.5MW.
“It could be even earlier than that, depending on the situation of each turbine,” he added.