INTERVIEW: PMB, Masari initiatives will reposition Katsina’s economy  -Musa

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The Special Adviser, Power and Energy Department of Katsina State, Engr. Mansur Muhammad Musa, in this interview with ANDY ASEMOTA, speaks on resuscitation and completion of power projects in the state among others.

Q: What is your take on the delay in the completion of Katsina 330KVA  power project by the Federal Government?

A: This project was started in 2008 or thereabout, during the administration of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua of blessed memory. After his administration, Jonathan’s government didn’t fund the project. Throughout his stay, over six years, there was nothing and after him, comes the Buhari administration and this is when the project has been resuscitated after we have sensitized the government and the people in Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN). 

We have been on this for quite a long time since we came in. In fact, this was why His Excellency, the Governor of Katsina State, Rt. Hon.  Aminu Bello Masari, created this department of power and energy. It came into effect in 2016, precisely in October or September or thereabout. 

So, its mandate is to liaise, interface and meet stakeholders who are doing business in Katsina State and that is all we have been doing: liaising, contacting and interfacing with TCN and major stakeholders.

Q: Are you satisfied with the achievements so far?

A: Of course. The achievement is they (the contractors) have come back to work. As we speak, they are on site; building their towers, anybody going to or fro Kano will see them building the towers after Birchi. The towers are huge; 330KVA power lines are huge. 

Before long, may be this month or so, they will start stringing the lines; you will see the wires. For now, it’s only the towers that you will see as you go along Katsina – Kano Road. However, all the conductors for the project are available in Kankia Transmission Substation. If you go there, you will see a lot of conductors in drums. 

I think, the project, all things been equal, in a year or so, will be commissioned.

Q: Can you shed more light on this project?

A: The 330KVA is like a hub from Kainji, Maudo and Kuboso (in Kano) to Katsina. 330KVA is the highest line in the country and it’s coming to Katsina with two huge transformers. 

The capacity of each transformer as per design is 150MVA. So, the two will give you 300MVA/330/132/33, that is the voltage ratio. If you convert that to mega watts, that is going to about 255MW capacity sitting here in Katsina and that is huge.

The total power demand in Katsina currently, if you exclude the suppressed load, is about 159MW for Katsina and Funtua complex only that Funtua receives power from Maudo, Zaria and Gusau but this is from Kano to Katsina. You see, the demand is 159MW but this capacity that is coming is 255MW. So, even if we are going to take all our load, we will still have a balance there.

Also, there is another line that will connect from this new 330KVA substation; it’s equally going to be like a hub, in fact, multiple hubs. One will drop in Kurfi (two by 60 MVA). The combined equipment will give you 120MVA. If you convert them to mega watts, that is going to be about 80MW. 

So, there is going to be that installation in Kurfi followed by Dutsin-ma Kankara and Mararabar – Kankara as you go along.  There is a substation there, in fact, if you go there, the transformers are available already. There is a transformer in Dutsin-ma, the transformers in Kankara are yet to arrive. 

At Kurfi, they have a transformer there but the 132 line is not in place, that is what they are coming to start building. Like I said, before long, that line will also be connected and this 330KVA will also draw power to the southern part of Katsina.

Already, you know, we have connected Daura to 132 double circuits and there is an installation of two 140MVA transformers which are quite enough.

So, as we walk along, before long, in fact, may be in the middle of the incoming administration, about two years into its first term, you will see that we must have probably realized all these power installations.

So, we will have enough capacity to power our homes, businesses and even farms because the installations will be enough to power all the dams in the state.

If we want to concentrate on agro – allied industries, the power will be available and that is the conventional power anyway.

Q: What are the expectations from renewable energy?

A: If you come to renewable energy, investors have come to indicate their readiness to generate power using solar technology. 

Pan – Africa Solar has acquired or taken land of about 200 hectares and they intend to generate about 75MW at Kankia. On the left of that site, Nova Power has taken another 200 hectares of land and by design, they are to generate 100MW. So, you see, another 175MW will also go into the grid and will go to the 330KV grid that they are building now.

You see, Katsina will be a hub for solar power producers in the next few years.

Q: What exactly is the fate of abandoned Lumbar Rimi 10MW wind farm?

A: It has not been completed by the federal government. Again, we did a memo to National Council on Power to request them to build 10MW solar there because if the wind potential is weak or low, the wind turbines might not work as designed but we have a lot of irradiation. We have sun hours, that is what is needed for solar power.

We can have solar power round the year. So, we have asked them to do a 10MW solar farm to salvage the wind farm because the land is also there, about 200 hectares. We can generate more than 100MW but we want to start with 10MW that is scalable to about 100MW or more and they will go into the grid. After taking what we need in Katsina, we can sell the rest to the grid. 

Katsina will record a boom in its power supply and as I told you, this will start trickling in as soon as the next government comes in.

Q: What is your assessment of the milestones so far in pursuing the vision of Governor Masari in power and energy sector?

A: You see, the creation of this department is based on the need to liaise and interface with major stakeholders. We have been able to get the various stakeholders back to work in Katsina and we have achieved tremendously what we are mandated to do.

The state government is also in the business of building 33KV and 11KV power lines – these are sub -transmission power lines – and rehabilitation of 33, 11 and 450 power lines besides replacement of transformers and powering unserved and under served communities. I think we have injected close to 150MW into KEDCO network, that is Kano Electricity Distribution Company. 

So, I can say that we have tremendously improved on power infrastructure in Katsina State since the creation of this department and we have engaged stakeholders who are coming in with their capital to build power stations and you know that is cash cow.

Q: What is your message to the incoming administration in respect of power and energy sector?

A: Power and energy sector is the key for development in any society. So, the simple message is the government should build on the strong foundation laid by His Excellency, Governor Aminu Bello Masari. If they do that, the sky will be the limit in terms of providing power to homes, businesses and even farms.

The incoming governor, you know, is passionate about development and growth of small and medium scale enterprises and industries. You cannot do that without power. So, it’s expedient that it should build on this trajectory going forward.

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