This, according to the government, will augment the country’s power generation, which currently is a little above 4,000MW.
The Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, disclosed this in Abuja while inaugurating an eight-man committee on the development of a framework for coal to power.
He said, “The Federal Ministry of Power and the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel are working together to ensure that not only is coal mined from our coal deposit, but that coal is also converted to power. When that is done, it is most likely that these coal belts, when utilised, can give us in excess of 4,000 additional megawatts of electricity.
“No nation can survive on only one or two sources of energy. If there is sabotage or natural disaster that prevents one source of fuel, and if that is the only source, then there is problem.”
The minister said it was imperative for Nigeria to have a well balanced energy mix, adding that in line with global best practice, there was an urgent need to diversify the energy sources.
Nebo stated that most developed countries of the world used coal as their major source of power generation, stressing that Nigeria’s power generation mix currently consisted of 70 per cent production from the thermal plants and 30 per cent hydropower, adding that thermal plants were entirely based on natural gas as fuel.
According to the minister, the country has abundant coal spread across 13 states of the federation.
He said coal had been discovered in commercial quantities in a belt spanning Enugu, Benue, Kogi, Nassarawa and Gombe states.
According to the terms of refrence given to the committee members, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent, the committee will review the status and adequacy of available studies and project documents relating to the establishment of coal-fired plants.
They are to examine the impediments and challenges to the development of coal-fired power plants in the country and make recommendations to facilitate investment in coal to power generation, among others.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the committee, Mr. Sanusi Garba, gave an assurance that members would ensure that the terms of reference were met.
Information from Punch was used in this report.